Why My Self-Directed IRA Application Needs My Spouse's Signature

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Why My Self-Directed IRA Application Needs My Spouse's Signature

Did you notice there’s a place for “spousal consent” on your application when opening your IRA? I’m the type of person who’s curious about everything— maybe you are too! So, when I noticed this section of our account application, I knew there had to be a reason. Why do we do that?

I asked around and I got some answers, as well as did a little digging on my own. It’s not a complicated or mysterious answer, after all— we even give the basic details on our form. It all goes back to the good ol’ state of California, where IRA Resources was founded and operates.

Here in California, we’re a community property state. That means, while you’re married to someone, anything you acquire while married is partially owned, more or less, by your spouse. LLC operating agreements and other business contracts often require spousal acknowledgment of the underlying terms of the agreement, to prevent issues if, after the death of the original investor, the investment passes to the spouse. California isn’t the only state who does this— Arizona, Texas, and Wisconsin are a few of the other community property states.

At IRA Resources, you’ll on the IRAR account application, titled “Spousal Consent”. When dealing with your IRA, your spouse must give consent if they are not being named as the sole primary beneficiary. If they are not listed or are listed only as a partial or contingent beneficiary, your spouse must sign and consent to this arrangement to proceed. If you have questions about the different types of beneficiaries, our article on Beneficiary IRAs should help clarify the differences. Otherwise, in the event of your death, your spouse can make a claim for the IRA, as they are a rightful interested party in the account. This can get messy and cause major problems for your heirs. It’s best to prevent this ahead of time by properly filling out all your paperwork and fully informing your spouse of your intentions, so there aren’t any surprises when you aren’t around to clear them up.

Relevant: Inherited IRAs: Beneficiary Rules for Self-Directed Investors

I hope you found that interesting and informative! I love learning about the nuances of the things we do every day. If you have any questions about self-directed IRAs in any capacity, please reach out and an IRA Resources representative would be happy to help. Happy investing! 

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