By Sarah Brenner, JD
Director of Retirement Education
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I have a general question regarding the 10-year time frame for emptying an inherited IRA. Your guidance says that the deadline is the END of the tenth year following death. In this specific situation, the death occurred July 9, 2020, so I believe the deadline is December 31, 2030, the end of the tenth year. I have seen some articles indicating that it is exactly 10 years later (July 9, 2030 in this case), rather than the end of the tenth year.

Would you please clarify this question for me?

Thanks so much for all of your guidance.



Hi Dan,

This was a question that came up often after the SECURE Act established the new 10-year rule for most non-spouse IRA beneficiaries. Guidance from the IRS has now clarified that the 10-year period does end on December 31 of the tenth year following the year of death. So, for the beneficiary of the individual who died on July 9, 2020, the 10-year payout period would end on December 31, 2030.


I inherited both and a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA from my sister who was one year younger than I am. She was age 80 when she passed in 2021, and had already started taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) on the traditional IRA. I think I am an eligible designated beneficiary because I am not more than 10 years younger than my sister. My question is whether I am required to take a RMD from either or both of these accounts.


For the traditional IRA, because you are an eligible designated beneficiary, you are required to take annual RMDs based on the IRS Single Life Expectancy Table. Because your sister was younger than you, you can use her life expectancy instead of your own.

Roth IRAs work a little differently. With the inherited Roth IRA, you have a choice between taking annual RMDs based on your life expectancy or using the 10-year rule. If you elect the 10-year rule, annual RMDs are not required from the Roth IRA during the 10-year period.

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