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3 Things to Include in Your Will

Include These Three Items in Your Will

MSN’s recent article entitled “3 surprising things you might not think to include your will” tells about three things to include in your will that you may not have thought about before.

Guardianship and funds for your pet. If you have a pet, you’ll want to make certain that it has care when you’re not around. You can name a guardian to take ownership of your pet, in the event your pet outlives you. You can also set up a pet trust in some states.

An executor for your digital assets. You probably have accounts with data on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media accounts. You may have an account for online gaming, operate an online small business, or own other important digital assets. If so, you should appoint someone to manage your digital afterlife.

A digital executor should be able to access your online accounts and manage closing them down or moving them to a new strategy.

Charitable donations. If you have given to a religious organization, school, or other nonprofit, you can include these charities in your estate plan. Another option is to instruct a family member to make a donation with a part of an inheritance. It’s not legally binding, but could it pass on a tax benefit to the ultimate donor.

In addition, remember to keep your beneficiaries updated on all life insurance policies and retirement accounts, because the listed beneficiary on these accounts supersedes anything you put in your will.

If you get divorced and remarried, update your will and also make certain that your life insurance beneficiary is updated.

Don’t procrastinate. Make sure that all of your estate planning documents are up to date.

Meet with your estate planning attorney every year or two, to also be sure your plan reflects any changes in the law or changes in your circumstances.

Reference: MSN (Jan. 10, 2020) “3 surprising things you might not think to include your will”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Will Changes, Pet Trust, Trustee, Charitable Donation, Beneficiary Designations, Life Insurance, IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA, Pension

Review Your Estate Plan

Some Estate Planning To-Do’s for 2020

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions to improve our quality of life. While it’s often a goal to exercise more or eat more healthily, you can also resolve to improve your financial well-being. It’s a great time to review your estate plan to make sure your legacy is protected.

The Tennessean’s recent article entitled “Five estate-planning steps to take in the new year” gives us some common updates for your estate planning.

Schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney to discuss your situation and to help the attorney create your estate plan.

You should also regularly review and update all your estate planning documents.

Goals and priorities change, so review your estate documents annually to make certain that your plan continues to reflect your present circumstances and intent. You may have changes to family or friendship dynamics or a change in assets that may impact your estate plan. It could be a divorce or remarriage; a family member or a loved one with a disability diagnosis, mental illness, or addiction; a move to a new state; or a change in a family business. If there’s a change in your circumstances, get in touch with your estate planning attorney to update your documents as soon as possible.

Federal and state tax and estate laws change, so ask your attorney to look at your estate planning documents every few years in light of any new legislation.

Review retirement, investment, and trust accounts to make certain that they achieve your long-term financial goals.

A frequent estate planning error is forgetting to update the beneficiary designations on your retirement and investment accounts. Thoroughly review your accounts every year to ensure everything is up to snuff in your estate plan.

Communicate your intent to your heirs, who may include family, friends, and charities. It is important to engage in a frank discussion with your heirs about your legacy and estate plan. Because this can be an emotional conversation, begin with the basics.

Having this type of conversation now, can prevent conflict and hard feelings later.

Reference: Tennessean (Jan. 3, 2020) “Five estate-planning steps to take in the new year”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Will Changes, Probate Attorney, Life Insurance, IRA, 401(k), Roth Conversion, Pension

Role of a Successor Trustee

What Does a Successor Trustee Do?

This is a common concern of people when they learn they have been named as a successor trustee, says nwi.com in the article “Estate Planning: The role of a successor trustee.” The first thing to do? Verify that you are a successor trustee and what authority and powers you have. If the settler is disabled, rather than deceased, you’ll need to be sure that you have complied with any requirements to take the position.

The trust that names you as a successor trustee is likely where you will find details of what you must obtain to assume the authority. For example, you may need to have a letter from a physician stating that the settler is incapacitated and can no longer manage his own affairs.

If the settlor is deceased, establishing your authority as successor trustee is easier. Usually, all you’ll need is a death certificate.

Once this has been established, you’ll need to be able to prove that you have this role. Usually this is done through the use of an Affidavit of Trust and Acceptance and Oath. An estate planning attorney will be able to help you with these documents. Some affidavits affirm until the “pain and penalty of perjury that the affiant is the successor trustee” and that you are accepting the designation and agree to serve under the terms of the trust and the laws of your state.

Different estate planning attorneys may approach this differently. Some may use a “certificate of trust,” while others will simply rely on the trust agreement. The important thing is that the successor trustee’s authority is demonstrable.

Once the successor trustee has established that he is appointed properly, he can start administering the trust.

What about selling the family home? Real estate transfers are handled through the local government. To sell a home, you’ll need to transfer the deed, so you will need the deed to the home.

When a successor trustee transfers real estate, a copy of the affidavit of his appointment as the successor trustee and relevant documents could be recorded with the transfer documents. The transfer needs to be approved by a title examiner, and the examiner will want proof that the person in charge of the transaction has the legal authority to do so.

Other assets are transferred in a similar fashion. The asset holder is contacted, a copy of the affidavit and proof of designation as a successor trustee will be needed.

Some estate planning attorneys will add a letter of instruction to the successor trustee providing them with helpful information and tips about estate administration.

Reference: nwi.com (Jan. 12, 2020) “Estate Planning: The role of a successor trustee”

Suggested Key Terms: Successor Trustee, Trust, Death Certificate, Affidavit of Trust and Acceptance and Oath, Deed, Estate Planning Attorney

Retirement Distributions

What’s Your Retirement Distribution Plan?

If you were supposed to take out an RMD of $4,000 from your retirement accounts and somehow forgot to do this, you’ll be writing the IRS a check for $2,000. Ouch! This is something you can easily avoid, says Yahoo Finance’s article “Know These 3 Facts to Avoid Paying Half Your Retirement Income to the IRS.”

Most investors spend a lot of time building their retirement income accounts—their entire working life. However, there’s a second phase of retirement finances that doesn’t get quite as much attention. That’s the “distribution” phase, when the money that you put into accounts for decades needs to be taken out and used for what is ideally an enjoyable retirement.

Preparations for this phase are usually focused on where to live, how much travel you can afford, what interests you may pursue and the choices that are made regarding retirement spending.

With those choices come some fixed payments that you need to keep in mind as you budget. The IRS has rules about Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs, that are strict. While some of the rules changed as of January 1, 2020, the penalties have not. Starting at age 72, you have to take your RMDs, or pay a steep price.

Here are the main types of accounts that have RMDs: IRAs, 401(k)s, 457 plans, SEPs, SIMPLE IRAs, TSP, 403(b)s, and TSAs. They all require RMDs in retirement.

The first distribution must be taken by April 1 of the year following the calendar year that you turn 72. If you retire after age 72, you have to take your first RMD from your 401(k), profit-sharing 403(b) or other defined contribution plan by April 1 of the year after the calendar year in which you retire.

For subsequent years after your required beginning date, you have to take your RMD by December 31.

You don’t have to take any RMDs for Roth IRA accounts, since those accounts are funded by post-tax dollars. There are Roth retirement accounts that do have RMDs, like a Roth 401(k). Some people roll their Roth 401(k) into a Roth IRA and pay the taxes at the time of the rollover, anticipating high taxes in the near future.

If you don’t take your RMD, or don’t take a large enough distribution, the IRS penalty is 50% of the amount that was not withdrawn.

To calculate your RMD for 2020, divide your retirement account balance on December 31, 2019, by a “distribution period” factor based on your age. For example, Lisa Sue is 71 and must take her first distribution at age 72. Her year-end IRA balance for the prior year was $100,000. Her distribution factor is 27.4. Divide $100,000 by 27.4 and the amount of the RMD is $3,649.63. That’s her RMD.

Understanding the distribution phase of your retirement is as important as the savings phase. While you’re planning, don’t neglect the estate plan that needs to be updated or prepared. That includes a will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and other documents. Talk with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Reference: Yahoo Finance (Jan. 9, 2020) “Know These 3 Facts to Avoid Paying Half Your Retirement Income to the IRS”

Suggested Key Terms: Retirement Accounts, IRA, Roth, 401(k), Required Minimum Distribution, RMD, SEP, SIMPLE IRA, 403(b), Estate Planning Attorney, Will, Power of Attorney, IRS, Penalty

Medicaid Planning Trust

What You Need to Know about a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT)

Moving into a nursing home can be expensive, costing you $5,000 to $10,000 a month or more. This expense can quickly wipe out your life savings. Medicaid will pick up the bill for you, if your income and assets are low enough to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The problem is you typically have to be nearly destitute, before you can qualify for Medicaid.

If you put your assets into a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, however, you might be able to qualify for Medicaid, even if your assets exceed the limit. Here is what you need to know about a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT).

Medicaid Income and Asset Limits

Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state. In general, you must have little or no income and few countable assets. Each state also has non-economic requirements, such as age, disability and household size, depending on your circumstances.

Medicaid does not count all of your assets toward the asset limit. For example, if you or your spouse live in your primary house, Medicaid considers the home an exempt asset. The value of that property does not count toward your state’s asset limit. There are limits on the amount of equity that does not count. The limits vary from state to state.

Additional examples of assets that can be exempt, include one car, term life insurance, household furnishings, clothing, wedding and engagement rings and other personal items. Medicaid does not count prepaid funeral and burial plans or life insurance policies with little cash value toward the limit.

Medicaid does count these things toward the asset limit:

  • Cash
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • Vacation homes
  • Retirement accounts not yet in payout status (only in some states)

These are the general guidelines. Your state’s treatment of assets might differ.

How a MAPT Works

When you put your assets into a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT), Medicaid does not count those things toward the asset limit. You do not own those items – the trust does. Medicaid does not count an asset that does not belong to you. The trust can protect the assets for distribution one day to your beneficiaries.

Please note that a “Medicaid Asset Protection Trust” can also go by the name of “Medicaid Planning Trust,” “Home Protection Trust,” or “Medicaid Trust.” Make sure that the trust you select is Medicaid-compliant. Most revocable living trusts, family trusts, irrevocable funeral trusts, and qualifying income trusts (QITs, also called Miller trusts) are not Medicaid-compliant. They will not protect your assets, if you want to be eligible for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home.

Essential Aspects of MAPTs

MAPTs are sophisticated estate planning documents. Here are a few of the highlights of these documents:

  • You cannot create a MAPT and immediately apply for Medicaid. You will have to wait at least five years (2.5 years in California) before you apply for Medicaid, after setting up a MAPT. If you apply for Medicaid before the “look back” period expires, you could face harsh financial penalties.
  • You are the grantor of your trust. You state might use a different term, like the trust-maker or settlor. Your spouse cannot be the trustee of your MAPT, but your adult child or another relative can be.
  • The trust must be irrevocable. Once signed, you can never change or cancel the trust. You can never own those assets again. If you create a revocable trust, Medicaid will count all the assets in the trust toward the asset limit, because you still have control over the assets.
  • The trustee must follow the instructions of the trust. No funds of the trust can get used for your benefit.
  • A MAPT protects your assets from Medicaid estate recovery. Without a MAPT, after you die, the state could seek reimbursement from your estate for all the money they paid for your long-term care.
  • While a Miller trust will not protect your assets, it can protect some of your income, if your income exceeds the limit for Medicaid. Used with a MAPT, many people can qualify for Medicaid to help pay for the nursing home, even if their assets and income exceed the eligibility limits.
  • The rules for MAPTs vary from one state to the next.

The regulations are different in every state. You should talk to an elder law attorney in your area to see how your state varies from the general law of this article.

References:

American Council on Aging. “How Medicaid Planning Trusts Protect Assets and Homes from Estate Recovery.” (accessed December 19, 2019) https://www.medicaidplanningassistance.org/asset-protection-trusts/

American Council on Aging. “How to Spend Down Income and/or Assets to Become Medicaid Eligible.” (accessed December 19, 2019) https://www.medicaidplanningassistance.org/medicaid-spend-down/

Suggested Key Terms: Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, MAPT, protecting your assets to qualify for Medicaid

Understanding IRA Beneficiaries

Why are IRA Beneficiary Designations So Important?

If you decide to purchase a life insurance policy or to put some money into a new deferred annuity contract or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you need to complete the beneficiary form.

However, Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries” says that you may just name a person as a beneficiary, without fully appreciating this aspect of your estate planning.

First, it’s important to understand what generally happens to your possessions and property after you die. If you have a will, your family must still go through probate to receive what you’ve left them. If you die intestate (without a will), your possessions become part of your estate, and intestacy laws will dictate the distribution.

If you name designated beneficiaries, you list who will get the money and what percentage each will receive. Then, after you die, your beneficiaries present a death certificate to a bank and complete a form. For certain assets, there’s no probate, no court involvement and no expense.

When completing a beneficiary form, you should consider not only who will get the money in your accounts, but how they’ll get it. If you’re worried that your beneficiaries couldn’t handle a large lump-sum payment, there are other options. Most annuity and life insurance companies now have a form that allows contract owners to designate how beneficiaries receive the death benefit. Generally, they offer three payment options: (i) a lump sum; (ii) a certain period of time; and (iii) amortization over the beneficiary’s life expectancy.

You could also divide the benefit, so your beneficiaries get some as a lump sum with the rest in scheduled payouts. However, note that your IRA might not have the same type of beneficiary payout options as annuities and life insurance do. The standard beneficiary form you complete when you open the account, usually only requires that you name a primary and a secondary beneficiary.

Other than that, the custodial institution’s policy will determine how funds get paid out to your heirs.  It is, therefore, possible that your biggest financial asset will be covered only by a simple, one-page document that may not truly express your intentions about who should inherit the retirement funds or how they should get them.

Another issue is if you’re single with three grown children, and you name each one an equal beneficiary on your IRA. One of the three dies. Shortly thereafter, you die, and the custodian’s policy is that the two living children should inherit the deceased child’s share. However, that’s not what you wanted. You wanted the deceased child’s family to get their father’s share. This result could have been avoided with proper estate planning. Ask an estate planning attorney about this.

Review the IRA custodial agreements on your accounts. Make sure that you understand the agreement’s policy on areas such as stretch distributions, beneficiaries designating a beneficiary, customized beneficiary forms, trustee-to-trustee transfers, non-spouse beneficiaries moving investments after the owner’s passing and any default provisions, in case a beneficiary predeceases you and you fail to make subsequent changes.

Reference: Investopedia (June 25, 2019) “Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Intestacy, Probate Court, Inheritance, Probate Attorney, Beneficiary Designations, Life Insurance, Annuity

Prof. Jonathan Turley

Great Advice from Prof. Turley – Consider a Private Social Worker

-By Christopher Mays

If you have been following the impeachment proceedings recently you may recognize Professor Jonathan Turley. He testified before the House Judiciary Committee in both the impeachment for President Trump and President Clinton, giving his opinion on the legal technicalities involved in the process. He was also one of my professors in law school, so I occasionally peruse his blog. As it turns out, he has some very good advice when it comes to Elder Law and caring for family: consider hiring a private social worker for aging family members.

The case for a private social worker is made in an article on Professor Turley’s blog authored by Darren Smith (click here for a link to the article on Prof. Turley’s blog). Essentially the case is this. Hospitals, Nursing Facilities and Government Agencies all have their own social workers. While in each case the social worker’s job is to advocate for the patient – there is always the potential that a social worker’s ability to advocate for a patient can be influenced by the interests of their employer.

As an attorney who has helped clients with guardianship of older family members and served as a guardian for seniors – I cannot say enough good things about what social workers do. Much of my work has been with the Regional Older Adult Facilities Mental Health Support Team (RAFT) with Arlington County. RAFT social workers do a number of things to help improve the living situation for seniors, including:

  • Assessing the mental health, behavioral, and care needs of older adults.
  • Providing educational and therapeutic support to both families and patients.
  • Training staff at care facilities about the specialized needs of seniors with mental health issues
  • Medication monitoring and evaluation

Personally, I have had a number of cases where older adults have been: unable to find placements because of mental health or behavior issues; at risk from poorly managed behaviors (wandering, etc.); or faced with other significant problems. In every case where I have had social workers, like the ones from the RAFT team, assist clients – we have been able to quickly transition seniors from unstable and potentially dangerous situations to well managed, comfortable and compassionate living arrangements.

When faced with family members in difficult situations because of aging, probably the most common reaction is “What do I do?” Social workers excel at helping people answer that question and come up with a plan for moving forward.

 

Social Security Scam?

Is It a Call from Social Security or a Scam?

If you get a call allegedly from the Social Security Administration, the chances are good that it’s a scam. Prior to disclosing any information or money, there are some steps you want to take.

CNBC’s recent article entitled “Social Security scams have caused millions of dollars in losses in 2019 alone. How you can avoid becoming a victim” explains that it’s common for an unknown caller to say that your Social Security number has been suspended or canceled.

This is the latest version of a robocall scam that the IRS warned people about in early 2019.

Other criminals attempt to convince people to pay up with cash or gift cards, in order to avoid getting arrested.

In the first six months of 2019, people filed 73,000 reports about Social Security fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The losses from these calls was more than $17 million.

However, Congress is trying to stop these practices.

The House of Representatives passed a bill in early December to restrict robocalls by requiring carriers to block the numbers, without charging consumers extra money. The Senate passed a similar bill earlier this year.

Several lawmakers also asked the Social Security Administration to review scam calls purporting to come from the agency.

“While SSA has taken steps in recent months to prevent and raise public awareness about these imposter calls, we are alarmed that the scams continue to be widespread and severe,” the congressmen wrote in a letter to Andrew Saul, commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration also won’t send you an email with a “click here” link.

It is important to limit when you give out your Social Security number. You should think twice before revealing that information on healthcare forms, for example, where that information is usually unnecessary.

Reference: CNBC (Dec. 16, 2019) “Social Security scams have caused millions of dollars in losses in 2019 alone. How you can avoid becoming a victim”

Suggested Key Terms: Elder Law Attorney, Social Security, Elder Abuse, Financial Abuse

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

Do Unmarried Couples Need Estate Planning?

A couple that has no intention of ever getting married should know that they won’t get the automatic rights and protections that legally wed spouses get, particularly when it comes to death. Therefore, unmarried couples must make a concerted effort to cover all the bases, says CNBC’s recent article entitled “Here’s what happens to your partner if you’re not married and you die.”

The number of unmarried couples who live together reached 18 million in 2016, a 29% increase from 14 million in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center. Among adults age 50 and older, the increase was 75% with roughly 4 million cohabiting in 2016, compared to 2.3 million in 2007.

These couples still face some key differences from their married counterparts. For example, there’s no filing federal taxes as a couple, and if an employer allows health insurance for a partner, the amount the company contributes is taxable to the employee, rather than being tax-free for a spouse.

End-of-life considerations also need attention. Unmarried couples can sign some legal documents that will dictate what happens, if one of them either becomes incapacitated or passes away, which is a type of estate plan.

If you die without a will or intestate, the state probate court will decide how your assets are distributed. A will by itself also won’t address everything. If you want to make sure your tax-advantaged retirement accounts — like your Roth IRA and 401(k) plans — go to your partner, make sure that individual is the designated beneficiary on those accounts. Even if your will says otherwise, whoever’s listed as the beneficiaries on those accounts will get the money. It’s the same for insurance policies and annuities.

If both partner’s names are on checking, savings or investment accounts, the account will pass directly to the surviving partner. However, for an account with only one partner’s name on it, ask the bank about the appropriate form to be completed, so the money is left directly to the surviving partner. This is what’s called a transfer-on-death or payable-on-death designation. Without this designation, the assets will end up in probate and distributed either in accordance with the will or intestacy state laws.

Regardless of how the mortgage is paid or whose name is on the loan, the person named on the deed is the owner. If the house in one partner’s name, it won’t automatically pass to the partner, as it would with a married couple (via joint tenancy with rights of survivorship). It would become part of the probate estate. To remedy this, you can retitle the home, so that both partners are listed as joint owners on the deed, “with rights of survivorship.” Each partner then equally owns the house and is entitled to assume full ownership upon the death of the other. Note that there could be other factors to consider before adding a partner’s name to an existing deed, such as expenses, tax implications and protection from potential creditors. Ask your estate planning or probate attorney before you make a change. A partner owning the house, could leave it to the surviving partner in the will. Remember, though, any asset passing via the will is subject to probate, which may lead to unforeseen issues.

In addition, a partner has no legal say in his or her partner’s medical treatment, if he or she is in a situation where they can’t make decisions for themselves. To give the partner that right, partners can grant each other a durable power of attorney over health care. This allows the partner to make important health-care decisions, if the one in the hospital is unable to do so. This is different from a living will, which states a person’s wishes if they are on life support or suffer from a terminal condition. This document helps guide the agent’s decision-making. If no one is named, medical personnel must follow the instructions in that document.

Likewise, partners may want to give each other durable power of attorney for finances. This would let them handle one another’s money, including accessing accounts as necessary, if the incapacitated partner could not do so.  If the partners have dependents, name a guardian for them in the will. Otherwise, that decision will be left to the courts.

Reference: CNBC (Dec. 16, 2019) “Here’s what happens to your partner if you’re not married and you die”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Capacity, Guardianship, Asset Protection, Probate Court, Inheritance, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, Living Will, Tax Planning, Financial Planning, Probate Attorney, Intestacy, IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA, Pension, Joint Tenancy, TOD (Transfer on Death), POD (Payable on Death), Beneficiary Designations, Life Insurance, Annuity

The SECURE Act

How Does the SECURE Act Change Your Estate Plan?

The SECURE Act has made big changes to how IRA distributions occur after death. Anyone who owns an IRA, regardless of its size, needs to examine their retirement savings plan and their estate plan to see how these changes will have an impact. The article “SECURE Act New IRA Rules: Change Your Estate Plan” from Forbes explains what the changes are and the steps that need be taken.

Some of the changes include revising wills and trusts which include provisions creating conduit trusts that had been created to hold IRAs and preserve the stretch IRA benefit, while the IRA plan owner was still alive.

Existing conduit trusts may need to be modified before the owner’s death to address how the SECURE Act might undermine the intent of the trust.

Rethinking and possibly completely restructuring the planning for the IRA account may need to occur. This may mean making a charity the beneficiary of the account, and possibly using life insurance or other planning strategies to create a replacement for the value of the charitable donation.

Another alternative may be to pay the IRA balance to a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) on death that will stretch out the distributions to the beneficiary of the CRT over that beneficiary’s lifetime under the CRT rules. Paired with a life insurance trust, this might replace the assets that will ultimately pass to the charity under the CRT rules.

The biggest change in the SECURE Act being examined by estate planning and tax planning attorneys is the loss of the “stretch” IRA for beneficiaries inheriting IRAs after 2019. Most beneficiaries who inherit an IRA after 2019 will be required to completely withdraw all plan assets within ten years of the date of death.

One result of the change of this law will be to generate tax revenues. In the past, the ability to stretch an IRA out over many years, even decades, allowed families to pass wealth across generations with minimal taxes, while the IRAs continued to grow tax tree.

Another interesting change: No withdrawals need be made during that ten-year period, if that is the beneficiary’s wish. However, at the ten-year mark, ALL assets must be withdrawn, and taxes paid.

Under the prior law, the period in which the IRA assets needed to be distributed was based on whether the plan owner died before or after the RMD and the age of the beneficiary.

The deferral of withdrawals and income tax benefits encouraged many IRA owners to bequeath a large IRA balance completely to their heirs. Others, with larger IRAs, used a conduit trust to flow the RMDs to the beneficiary and protect the balance of the plan.

There are exceptions to the 10-year SECURE Act payout rule. Certain “eligible designated beneficiaries” are not required to follow the ten-year rule. They include the surviving spouse, chronically ill heirs and disabled heirs. Minor children are also considered eligible beneficiaries, but when they become legal adults, the ten year distribution rule applies to them. Therefore, by age 28 (ten years after attaining legal majority), they must take all assets from the IRA and pay the taxes as applicable.

The new law and its ramifications are under intense scrutiny by members of the estate planning and elder law bar because of these and other changes. Speak with your estate planning attorney to review your estate plan to ensure that your goals will be achieved in light of these changes.

Reference: Forbes (Dec. 25, 2019) “SECURE Act New IRA Rules: Change Your Estate Plan”

Suggested Key Terms: SECURE Act, IRA, Estate Planning Attorney, Stretch IRA, Conduit Trust, Charitable Remainder Trust, Eligible Beneficiaries, RMDs

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