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.