What Happens to My HSA If I Die?

2 min read • January 02, 2019
30 sec brief

We will review IRS HSA tax structures and how they impact your HSA funds when you die. Specifically the differences between a spouse, beneficiary, and estate.

Estate planning and understanding is about as much fun as waiting in line at the DMV. However, understanding how to structure your accounts to minimize taxability for your benefactors ensure that more of your money becomes theirs.

We will review the IRS tax structures and how they impact your HSA funds when you die.

HSA Estate Tax Planning Considerations

Even though you might have a healthcare plan that is shared by your family, an HSA account is owned by the individual. You can, of course, use your HSA funds toward any eligible expenses for yourself and tax-dependents (including your spouse). So how does this impact how HSAs are transferred from an individual to a spouse, beneficiary or estate? We will explore that below.

What happens to my HSA funds if I die and I named the below person/entity as my beneficiary?

  • If Your Spouse, there will be no tax implications. The HSA is transferred directly to your spouse. He/she can then continue using the HSA money for spending, saving or investing within the standard IRS guidelines. It remains an HSA and the same tax-advantaged rules would continue to apply.
  • If Your Beneficiary (not your Spouse), the HSA ends on the date of your death. The funds will be distributed and taxed as income to the beneficiary based on the fair market value. However, the beneficiary can use the HSA funds to pay for medical expenses of the account holder for up to 12-months after their death.
  • If Your Estate or No Beneficiary Designated, the HSA will be distributed to your estate and taxed as income on your final income tax return.

Beneficiary Details

HSA Estate Planning

The good news is that if you are reading this, you are still living! We also put together an HSA Tax Guide so you can review the HSA IRS tax details and maximize your tax savings while having a clear view of your tax liabilities.

HSA Tax Guide

What to do next? Regardless of your age or income, the most important step is to log into your HSA platform and ensure you have a beneficiary assigned. There is no reason to delay, do this TODAY! Even if you don’t use your HSA funds, it’s nice knowing that someone will benefit from the health savings.

Nothing contained in this post is intended to provide tax or legal advice. Please be sure to reach out to a licensed professionals prior to making any decisions that may tax or legal implications.

About the author

We are HSA Experts! Lively is a Health Savings Account (HSA) platform for employers and individuals. A 401(k) for healthcare.

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