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Options when you inherit an IRA

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in Small Business Tax

Q. I am the sole beneficiary of my father’s IRA. He died at age 67. Do I have to start taking distributions? B.W., Brooklyn, N.Y.

A. Yes. IRA owners don’t have to begin taking “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) until April 1 of the year after they reach age 70½. However, if an IRA owner dies before age 70½ and you’re a nonspouse beneficiary, you must empty out the IRA within five years of the death or take distributions over your life expectancy, beginning in the year after the death. Conversely, a spousal beneficiary has the option of rolling over the funds into his or her own IRA.

Tip: By setting up his or her own IRA and rolling over the inherited funds into it, a spousal beneficiary can postpone RMDs until the surviving spouse turns 70½.

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