By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst
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Are you required to take out RMDs (required minimum distributions) on an inherited Roth IRA? The original owner was 82 when he passed away. The funds were left to his nephew, so I understand the 10-year rule will apply.

Thanks for your help,



Hi David,

You are correct that the IRA owner’s nephew is subject to the 10-year payment rule. The IRS says that beneficiaries subject to the 10-year rule also must take annual RMDs in years 1-9 of the 10-year period if the original owner died on or after his required beginning date (RBD) for RMDs. Roth IRA owners are always considered to have died before their RBD. So, non-eligible designated beneficiaries of Roth IRA owners (those subject to the 10-year rule) are never subject to annual RMDs – no matter what age the owner died.


I have one large traditional IRA and one very small traditional IRA. Both were funded entirely with tax-deductible dollars. Both are at Vanguard. I would like to “merge” the small IRA into the large IRA to simplify my accounts. Is it possible to do this? How should I go about it?

Thank you.



Hi Jane,

There is no problem with merging IRAs of the same type, such as traditional IRAs with other traditional IRAs, or Roth IRAs with other Roth IRAs. (You cannot combine your own “lifetime” IRAs with inherited IRAs.) This consolidation will make it easier for you to keep track of your account and to calculate RMDs when they become due. Simply contact Vanguard, and they will let you know how to go about it.

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