Each year you deposit funds in your IRA to make certain there is money to support you when you choose to retire, or at least cut back on working full time. Depending upon the type of IRA, there are requirements for mandatory distribution at certain ages and if you have done a good enough job of growing your IRA, there are rules for Surviving spouse distribution, as well a distribution to any other beneficiaries.
According to Accounting Today author Ernie Guerriero:
A surviving spouse can rollover the deceased’s account to his or her own IRA. Often, a surviving spouse will elect this option to defer income taxes. A spouse can opt for a partial distribution rolling over the account balance into his or her own IRA.
Non-spouse beneficiaries, such as children, cannot roll over the decedent’s IRA. If the decedent was taking required minimum distributions, then the non-spouse beneficiary can: (1) take a lump sum distribution; (2) set up an “inherited” IRA and take required minimum distributions based upon his or her own age; or (3) continue taking the required minimum distributions based upon the decedent’s age.
Although the RMD rules do not apply to Roth IRAs during the accountholder’s lifetime, they do apply to after-death distributions.
If the decedent died prior to the RMDs requirement age, the non-spouse beneficiary has a fourth option. The IRA could be distributed to the beneficiary within five years.”
All of this can get pretty confusing, so either while you are doing your estate planning, or if you have recently inherited an IRA from a loved one, let us help you navigate these waters.