A:

Under the current version of the law, any IRA or Roth IRA assets that are gifted while the IRA owner is alive are considered to be a distribution from the IRA to the IRA owner. This means the assets will no longer be considered IRA assets after they leave the IRA.

Some IRA owners choose to designate the giftee (the party receiving the assets) as a beneficiary of the IRA so the party will receive the assets after the Roth IRA owner dies. This allows the beneficiary to maintain the assets as IRA assets for a certain period as allowed by the law. For a Roth IRA, this period may be the five years after the death of the Roth IRA owner or the single life expectancy of the beneficiary. However, this option would not allow your mother the tax-free gift benefit she is allowed for the $11,000.

This question was answered by Denise Appleby
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