Bequeathing your IRA funds to a trust (as opposed to an individual) can be beneficial, but it’s a complex process that poses some serious financial risks; if it’s not done right, you could pay big in tax penalties.

First, ask yourself why you’re considering a trust as a beneficiary. The most common reason is to protect the funds from an individual who most likely will not make wise decisions regarding the money if they were left it outright. If you’re considering it for any other reason, it may not be the right choice.

If you do decide to go this route, make sure you have expert help. You’ll need the advice and assistance of an attorney very familiar with the IRS rules governing inherited IRAs and how they relate to trusts. Do your homework and make sure your attorney has a thorough knowledge of the topics and the tax implications.