Before the SECURE Act, named beneficiaries who inherited an IRA were able to take distributions over the course of their lifetimes ( Stretch IRA ) . This allowed the IRA to grow over many years, sometimes decades. This option came to an end in 2019 for most heirs, but not for all, says the recent article “Who is Still Eligible for a Stretch IRA?” from Fed Week.
A quick refresher: the SECURE Act—Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement—was passed in December 2019. Its purpose was, ostensibly, to make retirement savings more accessible for less-advantaged people. Among many other things, it extended the time workers could put savings into IRAs and when they needed to start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).
However, one of the features not welcomed by many, was the change in inherited IRA distributions. Those not eligible for the stretch option must empty the account, no matter its size, within ten years of the death of the original owner. Large IRAs are diminished by the taxes and some individuals are pushed into higher tax brackets as a result.
However, not everyone has lost the ability to use the stretch option, including anyone who inherited an IRA before January 1, 2020. This is who is included in this category:
What was behind this change? Despite the struggles of most Americans to put aside money for their retirement, which is a looming national crisis, there are trillions of dollars sitting in IRA accounts. Where better to find tax revenue, than in these accounts? Yes, this was a major tax grab for the federal coffers.
Reference: Fed Week (March 3, 2021) “Who is Still Eligible for a Stretch IRA?”
The 15 minute initial phone call is designed as a simple way for you to get to know us, and for our team to learn more about your unique estate planning needs.