Retirement Plan Distribution Planning
The Internal Revenue Code directs how quickly a beneficiary of a retirement account must withdraw the retirement benefits after the death of the owner. The amount of the annual Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is based on the length of time that a beneficiary has to withdraw the benefits. An individual can withdraw the benefits over that person’s remaining life expectancy. However, depending on who the beneficiary is, it may be preferable to have the benefits distributed to a trust for the beneficiary rather than have it paid outright. When a trust is named as the beneficiary, it may be possible to withdraw the benefits over the oldest beneficiary’s remaining life expectancy. However, depending on who the beneficiaries of the trust are and how the trust is drafted, it may be required to withdraw the benefits within five years of the date of death of the owner. Therefore, great care must be taken in determining who should be the beneficiary of a retirement account and, if a trust is used, the trust must be drafted to provide the greatest benefit to the beneficiary.