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On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed a $1.4 trillion spending package called the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). The SECURE Act, which is effective January 1, 2020 is the most impactful legislation affecting retirement accounts in decades.
While many of the provisions offer enhanced opportunities for individuals and small business owners, there is one notable drawback for investors with significant assets in traditional IRAs and retirement plans. These individuals will likely want to revisit their estate-planning strategies to prevent their heirs from potentially facing unexpectedly high tax bills.
The SECURE Act has several positive changes: It increases the required beginning date (RBD) for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your individual retirement accounts from 70 ½ to 72 years of age, and it eliminates the age restriction for contributions to qualified retirement accounts. However, perhaps the most significant change will affect the beneficiaries of your retirement accounts: The SECURE Act requires most designated beneficiaries to withdraw the entire balance of an inherited retirement account within ten years of the account owner’s death. Again, we emphasize that these individuals will likely want to revisit their estate-planning strategies to prevent their heirs from potentially facing unexpectedly high tax bills.
 If a beneficiary is not considered a designated beneficiary, distributions must be taken by the fifth year following the account owner’s death. Common examples of beneficiaries that are not designated beneficiaries are charities and estates. See Treas. Reg. § 1.401(a)(9)-3, Q&A (4)(a)(2) and 1.401(a)(9)-5, Q&A (5)(b).
Schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, your attorney retired or died, or you want a second opinion, call 210-530-4278 to schedule an appointment to find out if we are the right law firm for you.
This blog is not legal advice. It is informative. It does not establish an attorney client relationship.