An individual retirement account (IRA) must be established and maintained on an individual basis. It cannot be held jointly. However, the IRA owner may designate his or her spouse (or any other party) as the beneficiary of the IRA. In some states, the spouse must provide written consent if the IRA owner designates any party other than the spouse as the beneficiary of the IRA.

To read more about establishing a beneficiary for your IRA account, read Inherited Retirement Plan Assets - Part 1 and Part 2 and Who Is The Beneficiary Of Your Account?

Advisor Insight

Theodore E. Saade, CFP®, AIF®, CMFC
Signature Estate & Investment Advisors LLC, Los Angeles, CA

An IRA cannot be held jointly by spouses. It can only be held in one individual’s name.

But one workaround, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, would be to appoint the account-holder’s spouse his or her power of attorney. When triggered, a limited power of attorney would authorize the spouse to make trades within the account; a full power of attorney would allow the spouse to make withdrawals and transfers from the account as well. You should check with the brokerage firm that is the custodian of your IRA to see if it can accommodate a power of attorneyship; it may require you to fill out a proprietary authorization form.