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The Deadline for Spousal IRA Rollover

clock top by laffy4kYou’re going through a lot, having to deal with your spouse’s passing… and you have plenty of decisions that have to be made with regard to handling his or her final affairs.  All of the financial stuff must be dealt with as the will or probate determines, and you (or the estate’s representative) have to work through all of those arrangements.  It’s difficult to deal with all of these things, but you have to do so. But there’s a bit of good news for you:  you don’t have a deadline for spousal IRA. You can take your time dealing with the IRA(s) that you have inherited yourself.

The Spousal Inherited IRA

If you’ve inherited an IRA from your spouse, you have several choices in how to deal with it.  But the thing about it is, you’re not required to do anything immediately.  You can leave this account alone and do nothing with it at all for the present.  (see Note below for complications)

Of course, if you do nothing with the account, you can choose to begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) immediately – but this doesn’t have to occur either.  If you simply leave the account as it is and do not take any RMDs from the account, it will automatically be considered your own IRA by default, and you can treat it as such, making contributions, etc., and taking distributions when allowed.  But there’s nothing that requires you to do anything.

On the other hand, you could treat the IRA as inherited – and begin taking distributions from it without penalty. This might be advantageous to you if you are under age 59 1/2 and you need access to the money right away.

Note:  A complication comes about when the IRA is bequeathed to any other person or entity in addition to the spouse of the original account owner.  This would apply if the spouse and children are splitting the account, or if part of the account is to be transferred to a charity or a trust, for example.  In a case like this, you would need to split the account to the other heirs first, leaving your spousal portion as a remainder in order to treat the account as described above.  This has to be completed by the end of the calendar year following the year of the original account owner’s death.

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