If your brother cannot be found, you may want to check with the IRA custodian and/or the financial advisor to find out if the IRA plan document includes any provisions for such a situation. For instance, some IRA documents state that if a beneficiary cannot be found, that beneficiary will be treated as if he/she is not a beneficiary of the IRA. If the IRA you inherited includes such a provision, you may be treated as the sole primary beneficiary - provided reasonable efforts are made to locate your brother.

Generally, the required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year of death should be distributed by all the primary beneficiaries on a pro-rata basis. In your case, your brother would withdraw 50% from his share and you would withdraw 50% from your share, assuming that you are supposed to receive 50% each. If he cannot be found, it may make sense for you to withdraw the full RMD amount, especially if it's possible that his share of the assets will go to you. This will help to ensure that the 50% excess accumulation tax does not apply to any amount.

To learn more about IRA distribution, check out Who Is The Beneficiary Of Your Account?, Inherited Retirement Plan Assets - Part 1, Inherited Retirement Plan Assets - Part 2 and Disclaiming Inherited Plan Assets.

This question was answered by Denise Appleby
(Contact Denise)

  1. Can the non-spouse beneficiary of an IRA name a successor beneficiary?

    Whether the beneficiary of an individual retirement account (IRA) can name a successor beneficiary (second generation beneficiary) ... Read Answer >>
  2. Upon my death, will the beneficiaries of my IRA be compelled to take the entire amount ...

    It depends. If the beneficiary of your IRA is your spouse, he or she will be eligible to transfer the amount to his or her ... Read Answer >>
  3. If a trust is named as the beneficiary of an IRA, can the trustee of that trust become ...

    While the IRA owner is alive, only the IRA owner can change the designated beneficiary of the IRA. Exceptions may apply if ... Read Answer >>
  4. My spouse is the primary beneficiary of my IRA. I also have a contingent beneficiary. ...

    A spouse who is the sole primary beneficiary of an IRA can always treat the IRA as his or her own. The contingent beneficiary ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    Inherited IRA and 401(k) Rules: Don't Run Afoul

    What you need to know when it comes to the complex rules for inherited IRAs and 401(k)s.
  2. Financial Advisor

    Top Estate Planning Tips for 401(k)s and IRAs

    Here's how to avoid estate planning pitfalls when it comes to leaving IRA and 401(k) assets to heirs.
  3. Retirement

    Mistakes In Designating A Retirement Beneficiary

    Make sure your beneficiary designations not only reflect your intentions but also meet the requirements to be effective.
  4. Retirement

    Designating A Trust As Retirement Beneficiary

    Designating a trust as your IRA beneficiary can be beneficial, but it requires proper planning to avoid problems.
  5. Financial Advisor

    Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries

    Find out how to make the tough decisions when it comes to choosing who will receive your assets and how they will be paid out.
  6. Retirement

    11 Things You May Not Know About Your IRA

    These little-known features will help you get the most out of your retirement savings.
  7. Retirement

    Want To Leave Money To Your Family? Stretch Your IRA

    Find out how your beneficiaries can enjoy tax-deferred growth for as long as possible.
  8. Financial Advisor

    How to Handle Client Beneficiary Designations

    Beneficiary designations are a critical financial planning step that can be easily overlooked. Here's how to ensure they are properly done.
  9. Retirement

    An Estate Planning Must: Update Your Beneficiaries

    Life changes make it time to rewrite your plan's designations.
  10. Financial Advisor

    Disclaiming Inherited Plan Assets

    There are some good reasons for choosing not to accept the funds, but be sure you follow the proper process.
  1. Extended IRA

    An IRA that allows a second generation beneficiary to continue ...
  2. Inherited IRA

    An individual retirement account that is left to a beneficiary ...
  3. Stretch IRA

    An estate planning concept that is applied to extend the financial ...
  4. Beneficiary

    Anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. ...
  5. Secondary Beneficiary

    A person or entity that inherits assets under a will, trust or ...
  6. Primary Beneficiary

    A beneficiary in a will, trust or insurance policy that is first ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Nest Egg

    A substantial sum of money that has been saved or invested for a specific purpose. A nest egg is generally earmarked for ...
  2. Denial Of Service Attack (DoS)

    An intentional cyberattack carried out on networks, websites and online resources in order to restrict access to its legitimate ...
  3. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional ...
  4. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, retirement planning ...
  5. Assets Under Management - AUM

    The market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Assets under management (AUM) is looked ...
  6. Subprime Auto Loan

    A type of auto loan approved for people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. There is no official ...
Trading Center