"Does my mom need to open an account to gain access to the funds?"Yes. As far as the financial institution is concerned, your Mom does not exist...your uncle does until his account is closed legally. He is the one whose name is on the account that they opened for him. Your Mon has to verify that she has a right to the funds and then she has to get the funds into an account that is in her name and which shows her Social Security number so the government is happy.Now, once she has the account securely in her name, she can open an account in the same name at another institution and move the funds...or she can have the present institution distribute the funds to her. I imagine she will have to pay at least one year's management fees to open her account...that is an integral part of the IRA game too. They want their fair share too.Remember, the funds that are in any IRA are not all owned by the person whose name is on the account. The government has a claim to their share of that money and that has to be considered first in anything you do with an IRA. You always have to consider the tax consequences and make sure the government can follow the paper trail at every step along the way...they want that tax revenue real bad! And, they are going to get it. It is your Mom's job to make the government's piece of the pie as small as possible unless she loves to pay taxes. Think of an IRA as a "Check Valve for Money." Dollars go in but they cannot come back out until the check valve is properly over-ridden. That, by the way, is precisely why the government loves IRA's so much. They have gained control over your money and it cannot be moved without their knowledge. In exchange, they give you preferential tax treatment. There is no free lunch.
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