Forge Trust
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Frequently Asked Questions

Open a new account
How do I open an account?

You can open an account by simply completing an online application or you can complete an Application Kit using either a PDF or DocuSign form.

How do I pay my Forge Trust fees?

To pay with a credit card or bank account (ACH), log in to the client portal and click "Pay My Account Fees." To pay by check, please mail a check, along with our Deposit Notification Form indicating the check is a fee payment, to our mailing address below, with your Forge Trust account number in the check's memo line.

What do I need to open an IRA?

To open an IRA with Forge Trust Co. you need to provide some basic personal information such as your name, contact information, and social security number and you must provide and maintain a minimum cash balance of $500.

The funds for a new account must originate from a contribution, rollover or transfer from another qualified plan or earnings or liquidations from within your account.

What type of IRA is best for me?

We recommend that you talk to your advisor to determine whether a Traditional, Roth or other type of IRA account is best for you.

Why are there fees to set up and maintain an account?

Fees cover services for both asset custody and account maintenance. Self-directed IRAs give the account owner the ability to invest in many things and the IRS requires that a custodian hold these assets securely and maintain them on behalf of the IRA owner. Alternative investments often have processing and regulatory requirements that need careful attention to detail more so than with traditional, publicly traded investments. Please refer to our Fee Schedule for details.

Why is there a minimum balance requirement?

We require a minimum cash balance of $500 be maintained in the custodial cash account to provide for efficient processing of fees. This cash balance is part of your account and must originate from a contribution, rollover or transfer from another qualified plan, earnings, or liquidations from within your account. Failure to maintain this balance may result in the distribution of the account to the participant.

Fund your account
Am I required to transfer my entire account?

No, you may choose to transfer only the amount required for the alternative asset investment, plus an additional $200 to cover transaction processing fees and the required minimum cash balance of $500.

Please refer to our Fee Schedule for more detail.

Do transferred funds have to go into the same type of IRA account?
  • Funds from a Traditional account can be transferred to an existing or new Traditional, SEP or a SIMPLE IRA if certain conditions are met.
  • Funds from a Roth account must be transferred into an existing or new Roth account, and cannot be transferred into any other type of account.
  • Funds from a SIMPLE account can only be transferred into a Traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRA if certain conditions are met.
  • Funds from a SEP account can be transferred into a SEP, Traditional or a SIMPLE IRA if certain conditions are met.

The IRS refers to “IRA transfers” as “rollovers”. Traditional, SEP and Simple IRA funds may be “rolled over” to a Roth IRA but amounts rolled over will be treated as income.

Please consult with your tax advisor before authorizing this type of rollover/transfer.

Review the IRS Rollover Chart ( to determine rollover/transfer options for other types of employer-sponsored retirement plans.

How do I fund my account?

You can fund your account in three ways:

  1. You may make a contribution for each tax year, provided you are eligible to do so.
  2. You may rollover funds from another qualified plan (i.e. 401(k), Profit Sharing Plan, IRA, etc.).
  3. You may transfer funds from another custodian where you have a similar IRA.

Whenever you make a deposit to your account please complete a Deposit Notification Form.

What does it mean to transfer assets in-kind?

An “in-kind” transfer is one in which your current custodian will transfer your asset(s) “as-is” without the need for you to liquidate and re-purchase the asset(s). Forge Trust will charge a re-registration fee for each asset transferred in-kind.

Please refer to our Transfer Authorization form for more details on transfers in-kind.

What is an IRA Rollover?

The IRS refers to “IRA transfers” as “rollovers”. Traditional, SEP and Simple IRA funds may be “rolled over” to a Roth IRA but amounts rolled over will be treated as income. Please consult with your tax advisor before authorizing this type of rollover/transfer.

Direct Rollover: If you’re getting a distribution from a retirement plan, you can ask your plan administrator to make the payment directly to another retirement plan or to an IRA. Contact your plan administrator for instructions. The administrator may issue your distribution in the form of a check made payable to your new account. No taxes will be withheld from your transfer amount.

Indirect 60-day Rollover: If a distribution from an IRA or a retirement plan is paid directly to you, you can deposit all or a portion of it in an IRA or a retirement plan within 60 days. Taxes will be withheld from a distribution from a retirement plan (see below), so you’ll have to use other funds to roll over the full amount of the distribution.

You can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs you own.

The one-per year limit does not apply to:

  • Rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs (conversions)
  • Trustee-to-trustee transfers to another IRA
  • IRA-to-plan rollovers
  • Plan-to-IRA rollovers
  • Plan-to-plan rollovers
What is an IRA transfer?

A Trustee-to-Trustee transfer occurs when you authorize your current IRA custodian/trustee to transfer assets directly from your existing IRA account to another IRA or to a retirement plan. No taxes will be withheld from your transfer amount. You may only transfer cash and acceptable assets to your Forge Trust Co. account.

Where are my funds held when not invested and are they insured?

Your funds are held in an FDIC-insured, interest-bearing account at a depository institution (bank) until your funds are invested. The interest rate you receive is set by the Board of Directors based on the rates for similar accounts at money center banks. Contact Forge Trust Co. for the current interest rate.

Make an investment
Are any investments off limits in my self-directed IRA?

Yes. There are Prohibited Transactions and investing in them could result in serious tax consequences and disqualification of your IRA, among other things.

Using your self-directed IRA to transact business with a Disqualified Persons is also prohibited.

Can I buy and sell publicly traded stocks with funds from my account?

Yes. Any asset that is available for you to buy with a traditional IRA is available to you through a Self-directed IRA.

Can I buy mutual funds with funds from my account?

Yes. Complete an Investment Authorization Form to make the investment. Please be aware you will be charged a quarterly asset fee for each fund you hold.

Can I purchase an annuity with funds from my account?

Yes. Please speak to your tax advisor for guidance or for more information.

Does Forge Trust act as a financial advisor?

No. Forge Trust Co. is a non-depository trust company. It is our job to facilitate your financial decisions by enabling you to perform the transactions you wish to make. Legally we cannot offer you any advice in the form of recommendations or offer insight or information on any available securities. Many of our customers opt to employ the services of a qualified financial advisor to help them make decisions especially those who are new to investing.

I have questions about my investments who do I contact for help?

As this is a self-directed account you will need to contact your investment provider, financial planner, accountant or other professional to answer questions about your investment.

Forge Trust as custodian is prohibited from giving investment related advice. However, we can help you if you have questions about managing your account, conducting transactions, or understanding regulations: you can reach out to us via phone at (800) 248-8447 or via email at [email protected].

Manage your investment
Can a real estate investment property manager authorize Forge Trust to transfer funds from my IRA to the property management account?

Only you or someone you designate as an attorney in fact through a Power of Attorney (POA) on your account can authorize transactions on your account. You must provide a copy of the POA and complete the Power of Attorney Affidavit in order to authorize another individual to transact on your behalf.

Can a real estate property management account pay bills related to the investment property with funds outside of the IRA?

No. To take advantage of the tax benefits offered for investing in real estate through your IRA all expenses associated with the upkeep and operations of your properties must be paid from your IRA account--not from any other account, nor from your personal funds--or can be paid from rental income from the property.

Can I direct funds from my IRA into my real estate property manager’s account?

Yes. In fact, you must pay for all expenses associated with the upkeep of your property from your IRA. Use the Expense Payment Request Form to direct funds to your property manager to pay property expenses.

If your real estate is held by your IRA LLC then you must pay property expenses from your IRA LLC checking account.

If my IRA owns a percentage of a real estate property, does the IRA only pay its percentage of expenses associated with the property?

Yes. As a property co-owner, the amount of expenses you pay will be calculated by your ownership percentage. For example, if you own 50% of a property, you will pay 50% of its expenses.

What kind of real estate expenses can a designated property manager pay?

Your designated property manager can only conduct transactions on your behalf and cannot pay for anything out of their own account. Depending on the terms of your agreement with them and the type of property in question they may handle both the payment of expenses and collection of revenues that are necessary for operating the property in its intended capacity.

When do I need to be concerned about UBTI or UDFI?

You may be required to pay UBTI (Unrelated Business Taxable Income) or UFDI (Unrelated Debt-Financed Income) taxes if you use your IRA to invest or cover expenses for certain types of businesses or business activities.

UBTI taxes may apply to you if you have investments in an LP or an LLC. It also may apply if your investments within your tax-advantaged account contain debt financing and have net income over $1000 or you wish to file for a net operating loss (NOL).

For more information on the types of investments that may “trigger” a UBIT payment you can consult the IRS’s guide to Unrelated Business Income.

You may also reach out to Forge Trust if you have any questions. As your custodian it is our responsibility to help you understand IRS regulations although we may not give you advice on how to manage your accounts.

UDFI taxes are a subcategory of UBIT and are triggered when an IRA acquires debt as part of a real estate purchase transaction.

Both UBIT and UFDI triggers are discussed in IRS Publication 598. If you need help understanding this topic we are happy to assist you.

Who should rent checks for property held by my IRA be made payable to?

Checks should be made payable to “Forge Trust Co. CFBO [your name]”, and it would be helpful (but is not required) to fill in your account number on the memo line as well.

Manage your account
Can I have both a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA?

Yes. However, the combined amount being contributed to both types of accounts must not exceed that year’s contribution limits.

To capitalize on the benefits of both accounts Forge Trust offers the IRA Maximizer. You can open both accounts by selecting “IRA Maximizer” when opening a new account.

How do I change my beneficiary?

For changes to beneficiaries please submit a new Beneficiary Designation or Changes Form which will supersede any previously submitted form.

Be aware that if you live in a community property state and you elect to list someone other than your spouse as your sole primary beneficiary your spouse will have to authorize this change with a notarized signature. Please see form for instructions.

There are nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Alaska is an opt-in community property state that gives both parties the option to make their property community property.

How do I change the address or other contact information on my account?

To change your contact information (e.g. your telephone, email address, mailing address, etc.), please use the Account Owner Information Change Form, or submit a signed letter of instruction to Forge Trust Co., Customer Service Center, P.O. Box 6850, San Mateo, CA 94403-6850.

How do I change the name on my account?

Please submit a Name Change Form with a copy of the legal document proving the name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.) or mail a copy of the legal document proving the name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.) accompanied by a letter of instruction to: Forge Trust Co., Customer Service Center, P.O. Box 6850, San Mateo, CA 94403-6850

How do I choose between using PDF and DocuSign forms for account transactions?

Some institutions require an original “wet” signature from you for some transactions such as to transfer funds. You can provide this by completing and submitting a printed PDF form.

In other cases you may choose between using a PDF form or a DocuSign form.

PDF forms can either be filled out online then emailed; or printed, filled out by hand and then mailed or faxed. Please refer to each form’s specific instructions about how to deliver a PDF form to us.

DocuSign allows you to complete a form online and submit it in real time for processing. You will be prompted to provide your name and email address to access a DocuSign form.

How do I convert my Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?

These are the key steps involved when converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA:

  1. You must first open a Roth IRA account if you haven’t already done so by completing an application in addition to any other applicable forms.
  2. You need to submit a valuation of the asset in your existing Traditional IRA using one of the appropriate forms:

    • LLC (Individual/Family) Valuation
    • IRA Assets Valuation
    • Real Estate Valuation
  3. You must complete a Roth Conversion & Re-Characterization Request Form to finalize the conversion of your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

    Note: You can indicate on this form whether you want to do a full or partial conversion of your Traditional account. If you choose to do a partial conversion, we need to know the asset(s) and the amount you wish to convert.

If you are converting non-cash assets, we must have an up-to-date verifiable valuation of the asset(s) you are converting. If you are converting real property, we must have an appraisal from a certified appraiser.

We process these requests in the order in which we receive them. We cannot start the conversion until all of the forms and documentation have been provided. You will be notified if we need additional information.

For the conversion to be effective for a given tax year the valuation and the Roth Conversion & Re-Characterization Request Form must be dated in that year.

How do I login to my online account?

If this is your first time logging in go to our website mouse over “Login” and choose Client Portal. Please provide your account number and password to gain access to your account.

If you have never logged in before, or your temporary password for a new account has expired you will be prompted to call us to select a new password and security questions to protect your account in order to login.

How do I pay my Forge Trust fees?

To pay with a credit card or bank account (ACH), log in to the client portal and click "Pay My Account Fees." To pay by check, please mail a check, along with our Deposit Notification Form indicating the check is a fee payment, to our mailing address below, with your Forge Trust account number in the check's memo line.

How do I reset my password?

Go to our login page and click “Forgot Password?” You will be prompted for your account number, email address, and to answer security questions to access your account.

If you don’t remember your account number or have any difficulties with this process, please call our Contact Center for assistance at 1-800-248-8447.

How often will I receive a statement?

Statements are prepared quarterly based on the quarter end date as follows:

  • Q1: March 31
  • Q2: June 30
  • Q3: September 30
  • Q4: December 31

Please provide your current email address as your statement will be emailed to you. Accounts without an email addresses will be mailed a paper statement for which there is a fee. Online statements are free of charge.

Statements are sent during the month following the quarter end date.

What If I earned more than expected this year and no longer qualify for a Roth IRA but already made a contribution for this year?

If you make a contribution to a Roth IRA, and then discover that your income will exceed the maximum allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA the amount contributed for that year can be re-characterized as a contribution for a Traditional IRA.

If you elect to re-characterize a contribution you must do so by your tax return due date (including extension), using the Roth Conversion & Re-Characterization Request Form

Withdrawals, disbursements and distributions
Am I required to take money out of my IRA?

You are not required to take money out of a Roth IRA during your lifetime.

You are required to take a “Required Minimum Distribution” (“RMD”) from your Traditional IRA after you reach the age of 72 years old.

And if you are the beneficiary of an IRA you may also be subject to RMDs.

Can I withdraw money from my IRA?

Yes, it is possible to withdraw money from your IRA account, with a few notable exceptions.

One option for withdrawal is to set up early distribution payments in the form of substantially equal payments on a schedule determined by your life expectancy. You will avoid penalties through this set up but you will also be spending through your funds.

Withdrawing funds from a Traditional IRA before the age of 59 ½ may include a 10% penalty, plus any additional penalty fees your state may require.

The rules are slightly different for Roth IRA accounts—you can take out money that you contributed to the account at any time without penalty but you cannot remove earnings before the age of 59½ without penalty.

There may be certain exceptions where you can withdraw money from your account penalty-free. For example, if you are a first-time home buyer you may withdraw up to $10,000 to use for purchasing a home. Other exceptions include: education expenses, disability, unreimbursed medical expenses, and health insurance premium payments during unemployment.

Reasons for the penalty exemption can be found in the IRS publication 590B.

How do I take a distribution?

You can take a distribution by filling out a Distribution Request Form.

How often are distributions allowed?

There are no rules or restrictions governing when or how frequently distributions can be taken. However, you should be aware of possible tax consequences to consider. Please see IRS Publication 590B.

What are the tax consequences of an “early” withdrawal?

An “early” withdrawal is generally a withdrawal taken before age 59 1/2 in a Traditional IRA or within the first five years of a Roth IRA.

In addition to the amount added to your income the IRS may assess an additional 10% penalty. You should consult with your tax advisor regarding the tax consequences of taking an early withdrawal.

What is the tax consequence of taking a distribution?

Distributions from a Traditional IRA, SEP or SIMPLE are treated as income to you. You will receive an IRS form 1099R each January summarizing the amount distributed and the taxes withheld if any. In a Roth IRA if you take a distribution after the account has been open five years the distribution will not be included in your income. If taken within the five-year period it will be taxable like a Traditional IRA distribution.

How do I provide a valuation to Forge Trust?

We provide an online Asset Valuation Portal for our account owners to use for providing valuations. Please visit the portal for details. You may also download and submit an Asset Valuation Form however an administrative fee may be incurred.

I own a percentage interest in a private equity investment in my account. Who provides Forge Trust with a value for my portion of that investment?

You provide fair market valuations for all your assets every year. All your private equity investments should be issuing reports to you on the company’s worth. You can use that to complete the valuation forms.

Please refer to the Valuation of Assets section in your IRA Custodial Agreement.

What is a valuation?

A valuation is a determination of the current value of the alternative assets held in your IRA.

Why do I need to provide a valuation?

The IRS requires the IRA custodian to provide an annual current valuation report of all assets held in the IRA account. Alternative investments are not publicly traded and therefore require a valuation from the investment sponsor or other validated source.

I'm a financial professional or advisor and looking for forms on behalf of my client, where are these forms?

As a financial professional, the forms you will need for yourself and your client can be found at