Do I Need a Custodian For a Self Directed IRA?

Do I need a custodian for a selfdirected IRA

Self-directed IRA custodians will handle administrative duties, while it remains up to account owners to understand the tax implications associated with alternative assets like real estate or mortgage notes – which requires doing an in-depth due diligence investigation before making a purchase decision.

Investors should keep an eye out for red flags such as brand new investments with no track record or claims of unrealistically high returns, along with fees and transparency issues.


Your account’s assets play an essential role in its tax filings; for instance, owning real estate within a self-directed IRA that generates rental income may result in Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI) and Unrelated Debt-Financed Income (UDFI).

Alternative investments such as gold bars or cryptocurrency may seem attractive due to their illiquidity; however, given the lack of government oversight it’s essential that when making such investments you work with an independent professional.

Custodians are usually large, reputable firms that hold customer cash in trust while holding title to IRA assets for customers. Custodians must adhere to strict IRS rules when acting as custodians – for instance banks and trust companies must be federally insured while non-bank entities must register with them as one in order to function. Furthermore, all custodians must abide by any prohibited transaction regulations that might arise.


Self-directed IRAs allow investors to diversify their portfolio with alternative assets such as real estate, precious metals and private debt such as promissory notes. Such investments could potentially yield higher returns than traditional stocks or bonds.

As nontraditional investments may incur additional fees that reduce returns, it is crucial that you research potential custodians thoroughly prior to making your choice.

So for instance, some SDIRA providers charge one-time setup fees when creating an LLC for an IRA, while others impose annual LLC fees based on asset type or value. Some providers, like uDirect with its low fee schedule and checkbook control feature for direct investing direct management directly by owners themselves are an attractive choice, boasting more than $15 billion assets under management as of 2015. Pacific Premier Trust boasts 30 years of experience enabling IRAs to purchase over 42,000 different alternative investments.


An SDIRA allows you to invest in numerous forms of investments, from real estate (though there may be special rules), private debt and startup equity through crowdfunding platforms to tax liens and precious metals meeting IRS purity standards and foreign currency.

Your custodian may not conduct thorough investigations to verify if investments are appropriate and legitimate, leaving you vulnerable to scams and other issues. Therefore, it’s crucial that you work with an investment adviser or professional advisor when considering new investments, as well as regularly audit your portfolio to make sure all assets remain liquid and safe.

Keep in mind that all IRAs must make required minimum distributions by age 72 and can incur tax penalties if money is withdrawn before age 59 1/2 – you can avoid these by leaving it in the account until retirement age.


With a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA), your investment options are restricted to securities. An SDIRA gives you more investment freedom by enabling alternative assets like real estate or precious metals investments – just be sure to find a custodian that accepts these investments first and check all statements related to it; these investments may not always be liquid and accurate valuation estimates may exist in your statement.

When choosing an IRA custodian, make sure they understand IRA investing well and can respond promptly to inquiries. Also ask whether they have a dedicated team handling real estate IRAs as well as certified IRA Services Professional representatives on staff.

Be wary of investments marketed as “cryptocurrencies” or “tokens.” Generally, these securities have not been registered with the SEC and could even be offered without registration. Red flags to keep an eye out for include brand new investments with no track record, claims of unreasonably high returns, and lack of third-party oversight.

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