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401K vs. IRA Question
Old 12-28-2007, 04:18 AM   #1
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401K vs. IRA Question

I have the bulk of my investments (over 60%) in my 401K. I believe there is an estate inheritance distribution reason for moving this from my 401K to an IRA.
I am one of the fortunates who unfortunately have to take into consideration estate planning (if my calculations using current course and speed are correct).
Has anyone else had to take this into consideration and how have you handled it?
Thanks.
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:57 AM   #2
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I'm just responding so I wil get email notices of follow-ups so I can see what the answer is :confused: I wasn't aware of a distinction but could face the same situation with DW's 401k.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:04 AM   #3
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Are you referring to the "stretch" options for non-spousal beneficiaries? You can do those with IRAs so that they last longer. Supposedly that was supposed to be fixed with some recent law but I think there were some problems with implementation. I'm sure Martha knows the current status. I like having the 401K for its more robust creditor protection but the downside is the more difficult stretch which hopefully will be corrected soon.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Are you referring to the "stretch" options for non-spousal beneficiaries? You can do those with IRAs so that they last longer. Supposedly that was supposed to be fixed with some recent law but I think there were some problems with implementation. I'm sure Martha knows the current status. I like having the 401K for its more robust creditor protection but the downside is the more difficult stretch which hopefully will be corrected soon.
I am thinking the same thing.......maybe OP could give us a little more info??
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:59 AM   #5
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I believe this is what the OP is talking about:

Financial Advisor Magazine

- Ron
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs0460a View Post
I believe this is what the OP is talking about:

Financial Advisor Magazine

- Ron
The law is in place. I used it to transfer my sister's 403B to beneficiary IRAs for my sons.

Unfortunately, along the way I had to "educate" TIAA-Cref on the new law...........
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:52 PM   #7
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I willed my 401k into a trust fund for my dd that is suppose to be spread out over 25 years at most. The trust fund would only be established upon my death.

Does that sound right?
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:55 AM   #8
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The law is in place. I used it to transfer my sister's 403B to beneficiary IRAs for my sons.

Unfortunately, along the way I had to "educate" TIAA-Cref on the new law...........
Yes, this is what I was referring to in my OP. Thanks FD, rs0460a, and Kaneohe, for clarifying.
Follow up questions:
1) what were the difficulities in implementation and do they still exist, since FD helped his sister out on this with her 403b
2) it seems that if the new law is in place, then holding everything in a 401K or an IRA makes no difference to the non-spousal inheritors. y/n?

My 401K has plenty of choices and much lower expense ratios than Vanguard. So all things being equal I guess my choice would be to leave things where they are.
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JohnDoe View Post
I willed my 401k into a trust fund for my dd that is suppose to be spread out over 25 years at most. The trust fund would only be established upon my death.

Does that sound right?
Good question JohnDoe. I too have as the beneficiary of my 401K, my revocable trust. Does this cover my non-spousal inheritors?

This stuff is way too complicated. It might be easier to squander the nest egg. (... kidding ... I doubt that I could do it if I tried... not in my character, as is with most of the posters here).
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Old 12-29-2007, 07:45 AM   #10
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I am not aware of the implementation issues of the new 401k rules, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. Basically, what the non-spouse person who inherits has to do is roll it over into what is called an inherited IRA and has to take at least required minimum distributions over their life expectancy. I believe that this works even with multiple beneficiaries (using the shortest life expectancy) but I am not sure about using a trust as a beneficiary as it has no life expectancy, but I would ask your tax adviser. I have some vague recollection that a qualified trust can use the life expectancy of the beneficiary and "stretch" out the distributions, but I could be wrong.

You might also try posting your trust question to the Fairmark forum Fairmark Forum
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Old 12-29-2007, 07:49 AM   #11
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MCF----I agree about the complexity. Recommend you ask your questions at the
irahelp.com forum and then come back and educate us. I think at one point I saw
an update about the practical difficulties and status even w/ the new law on that site but I have not kept up to date. You can also get info about your trust question there----
again, it seems to be a highly technical question that depends on specific wording about beneficiaries----whether they are all specifically identifiable individuals or whether you have unnamed individuals (like charities) as contingent beneficiaries,etc. Again, not sure I really understand it.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:23 AM   #12
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here's a link to an update on irahelp.com about the 401K transfer to non-spouse beneficiaries.......sounds like the problem will be fully resolved in 2008
IRAHelp.com - Retirement Resources for Advisors
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:26 AM   #13
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Thanks kaneohe.
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:28 PM   #14
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I read the links and don't see anything about leaving them to people who aren't domestic partners of the same sex or parents, children or spouses. What about those of us that don't want to leave it to those people? My 401K is to be split between a niece and nephew, mom is 81 and doesn't need money and I don't have kids. My roommate isn't a domestic partner of the same sex or any way related to me. I don't know what rules would be for a opposite gendered domestic partner. We don't share anything financial and when my nephew wanted a girl to be a domestic partner they had to have shared financial things to cover her on his health insurance, so he married her.
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I'm just responding so I wil get email notices of follow-ups so I can see what the answer is :confused: I wasn't aware of a distinction but could face the same situation with DW's 401k.
ditto - I'm interested in the responses as I don't know the answer
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:46 PM   #16
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My sister had a 403B, pretty much the same deal as a 401K. Unbeknownst to me, she left it to my two sons, who are minors. She died in August of 2006, and I was the executor of the estate.

I knew about the legislation, and waited until 2007 to move the account. I rolled them into beneficiary IRA's, and my sons have to take yearly RMD's on their life expectancy, but it only was about 1.3% and 1.5% respectively.

In effect, I created a "strech IRA", but with my sister's qualifed money, not mine.

It will be used for college for them, which was her dying wish............
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:50 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
here's a link to an update on irahelp.com about the 401K transfer to non-spouse beneficiaries.......sounds like the problem will be fully resolved in 2008
IRAHelp.com - Retirement Resources for Advisors
This came into question in my case. However, since there was NO provision expressly NOT allowing this to happen in the SPD, I was able to persuade/threaten/implore TIAA-Cref to allow this to happen. In the end, I was successful, mainly because my scenario was covered under the new law at the time (early January 2007).

As far as how trust law goes, that would take more due diligence on my part, I will do some research, and perhaps before I can answer an answer will be posted........

Darn good question............
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:53 PM   #18
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I read the links and don't see anything about leaving them to people who aren't domestic partners of the same sex or parents, children or spouses. What about those of us that don't want to leave it to those people? My 401K is to be split between a niece and nephew, mom is 81 and doesn't need money and I don't have kids. My roommate isn't a domestic partner of the same sex or any way related to me. I don't know what rules would be for a opposite gendered domestic partner. We don't share anything financial and when my nephew wanted a girl to be a domestic partner they had to have shared financial things to cover her on his health insurance, so he married her.
Spouses get special benefits and basically can dump the inherited 401k or IRA into their own plan and take money out when they retire. What we are talking about is everyone other than a spouse. It used to be that if your 401k beneficiary was someone other than you spouse the income taxes had to be paid over a relatively short period of time. In 2006 the rules changed so that a non-spouse beneficiary of a 401k could directly rollover the 401k into what is called an inherited IRA. The beneficiary has to take minimum required distributions, but they are now "stretched" to be over the beneficiary's life expectancy. The problem with the new law as kanohe noted was that 401k plans did not have to allow for the rollover into an inherited IRA. Apparently this was fixed for 2008 and plans have to allow this.

The open question is whether these new rules apply, and how they apply, if the beneficiary is a trust.
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:18 PM   #19
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Good so you can leave them to anybody not just parents, children and domestic partners. I might leave some to my great nephew and great niece they are really young so the money could last a long time.
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:53 PM   #20
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Here's a link to an Ed Slott article re: trusts as beneficiaries of qualified plans.
Stretching Benefits: The new Pension Protection Act lets non-spouses inherit and stretch out company retirement plans.

The relevant section is under "Trust Opportunities" (below the brown box that
shows up about the middle of the page". You will have to figure out what a
see through trust is in order to interpret what he is saying.......I don't exactly
understand it but it is something like you have to be able to identify every individual who is a beneficiary and beneficiaries cannot be non-individuals like a charitable org.
(even if they are contingent??). Don't know whether beneficiaries can be unnamed
members of a class.....like ...my brothers and sisters;, etc.

A question/word of warning....if you find something you want to save that is accessed via a link, you may want to copy and paste the actual article rather than relying on the link. Seems to me that more than once the link works when fresh but not necessarily when aged. Just spent a long time w/o success searching for a Bruce Steiner article on see through trusts.
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