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SUCCESSOR BENEFICIARIES AND 401(K) ROLLOVERS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst

Question:

I hope you can help me with this, as I cannot find the answer anywhere or from anyone.

In 2019, my client Frank, passed away. His cousin, Lisa, inherited his IRA. In 2020, Lisa passed away. Her husband, Rob, inherited the IRA. They are all the same age.

Do distributions fall under the 2020 rule or the 2019 rule?

One of the exceptions to the 2020 rule is if the beneficiary is not more than 10 years younger than the original IRA owner, and Rob is not. So, are distributions based on life expectancy

Thank you for any guidance you can provide.

Denise

Answer:

Hi Denise,

Unfortunately, not. Rob would be considered a “successor beneficiary” – a beneficiary of a beneficiary. A successor beneficiary who inherits in 2020 is subject to the 10-year payout rule (not the life expectancy rule) – even if the first beneficiary (Lisa) was using the life expectancy rule.

Question:

My husband has a 401(k) that has some funds that are Roth 401(k) and some that are traditional 401(k). When he retires, will he transfer these to two different IRAs (regular and Roth) or will they go into one account where we will have to allocate withdrawals according to the percentage of the two types of funds?

Renee

Answer:

Hi Renee,

Your husband can (and should) directly roll over the Roth 401(k) funds into a Roth IRA and the pre-tax 401(k) funds into a separate traditional IRA. Assuming he is 59 ½, or older, distributions from the Roth IRA would be completely tax-free once he has held that Roth IRA (or any Roth IRA) for at least five years.

https://www.irahelp.com/slottreport/successor-beneficiaries-and-401k-rollovers-today%E2%80%99s-slott-report-mailbag

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