Is an IRA held in the name of an estate required to take a minimum distribution?

by Thomas N. Alvaré, CPA | Dec 07, 2017

Is an IRA held in the name of an estate (principal has passed) required to take a minimum distribution?

It depends on whether death occurs before or after the required beginning date for mandatory IRA distributions. When an IRA owner dies, IRA ownership is controlled by beneficiary designation. If the IRA in question is held in the name of the estate, the estate must have been named as beneficiary. This is generally a bad idea because distributions could be forced to occur far faster than with individual beneficiaries.

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Answered by: Thomas N. Alvaré, CPA, is managing principal with JFS Wealth Advisors in Doylestown, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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