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Are You the Beneficiary of an IRA? You May Need to Take a Required Minimum Distribution

Posted by Michael J. O'Connor | CWS®, Vice President Investments

December 6, 2017

When most investors/retirees think of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), they think of turning 70 ½ and having to take mandatory distributions from an IRA. The federal government allows savers to make tax deductible contributions (with tax deferred growth) to IRAs/401(k)s/qualified retirement plans throughout their working lives, but the party ends when folks turn 70 ½. Uncle Sam eventually gets his cut.

There’s one feature of RMDs, however, that is less widely known. That is, if the account owner passes away and there is still a balance in the qualified retirement account, it is the responsibility of the beneficiary to take the required distributions, whether that be the spouse, a child, a charity, a trust, and so on. Not taking the required distributions can result in a 50% excise tax penalty on the amount not withdrawn, so it’s important to understand these rules. We’ll break them down more clearly for you, below.

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