SUCCESSOR BENEFICIARY RULES AND NEW SPOUSE BENEFICIARY RULES: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst
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Question:

My sister inherited an IRA from our mother (age 95 and died in 2019.) My sister took her RMDs (required minimum distributions) from this inherited account over her life expectancy. My sister died in 2021, leaving me as her beneficiary of this inherited IRA. My sister had already taken her 2021 RMD before her death.  Not knowing, I took an RMD in 2022 by just dividing her 12/31/21 value by 10. Now I am uncertain what to do for my RMD in 2023. What schedule do I use now for the RMD in 2023?  Also, does the account need to be depleted by the end of 2031 or 2032?

Thank you.

Carol

Answer:

Hi Carol,

You are a successor beneficiary – the beneficiary of a beneficiary. Since your sister (the first beneficiary) died after 2019, you are subject to the 10-year payout rule. This requires you to empty the account by no later than 12/31/31. The IRS issued rules that also require you to continue annual RMDs during the 10-year period (starting in 2022) based on your sister’s life expectancy. (You essentially “step into her shoes” and continue with her same life expectancy factor, minus 1 each year.) However, because of the confusion caused by those rules, the IRS has waived annual RMDs for 2022 and 2023 (the first two years of the 10-year period).

Question:

Thank you for all the good information you all make available. I particularly enjoyed Ian Berger’s recent summary of “SECURE 2.0’s Biggest Mess.”

We have a client whose husband passed away in 2022 at the age of 60. The client opted to establish an inherited IRA because she’s under 59 1/2. Is it correct that she’s subject to section 327 of SECURE 2.0 even though her husband died in 2022? And if so, should she choose not to elect to defer RMDs until he would have turned 73, will her RMDs beginning in 2024 be based on the IRS Uniform Lifetime Table using her age, or will she be subject to the 10-year rule?  And is there a form for the election, or is that election simply made by how the account is distributed?

Best regards,

Doug

Answer:

Hi Doug,

The new rules for spouse beneficiaries in section 327 apply only to deaths after 2023, so your client is not affected. If your client’s husband had died in 2024 or later and your client wanted to start RMDs in the year following the year of death, she could stretch RMDs over her lifetime, and they would be calculated using the IRS Single Life Expectancy Table. No election would be necessary. An election would only be necessary if she chose to defer RMDs until the year her husband would have reached age 73 or 75 (depending on his birth year).

https://www.irahelp.com/slottreport/successor-beneficiary-rules-and-new-spouse-beneficiary-rules-today%E2%80%99s-slott-report

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