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Change in law for IRA distributions may change estate plans

Georgia residents who have an IRA or another retirement account, such as a 401(k), might want to review their estate plan if the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act passes the Senate as it is expected to do. The SECURE Act will change the rules around bequeathing IRAs and other retirement accounts to people who are not spouses.

Under the existing law, it was possible to pass IRAs to beneficiaries in a way that would allow them to stretch minimum distributions throughout their lives. Under the SECURE Act, the 10-year rule will only allow this in certain circumstances. Otherwise, distributions must be made within 10 years. If the beneficiary is a spouse, someone who is chronically ill or disabled, a beneficiary whose age is within 10 years of the owner's age or a minor child, the 10-year rule does not apply. The rule will kick in for minor children when they reach 18. It also applies to other types of accounts.

Some people may need to revise their estate plans and make other provisions as a result. They may want to consider how a beneficiary's taxes will be affected and plan accordingly. One option that can help stretch distributions is a charitable remainder trust that pays out for more than 10 years.

Whether or not the passage of the SECURE Act affects a person's estate plan, plans should be reviewed regularly to make sure they remain current. In addition to changes in the law, family changes or changes in a person's assets may also necessitate estate plan revisions. Furthermore, when making one type of change, such as to a beneficiary designation, it is important to make sure the will or trust and other elements of the estate plan are consistent.

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