I inherited a Roth IRA. What are my options for taking distributions from the account?

By Denise Appleby AAA
A:

It depends.

Generally, if you are the spouse of the Roth IRA owner and you are the sole primary beneficiary, you may treat the Roth IRA as your own. This means that you would not need to take distributions unless you wanted to do so.


If you are not the surviving spouse of the Roth IRA owner, your options are as follows:

  • Distribute the entire balance by December 31 of the fifth year following the year the Roth IRA owner died.
  • Distribute the assets over your single life expectancy. Under this option, distributions must begin by December 31 of the year following the year the Roth IRA owner died.

To be sure, check the Roth IRA agreement and disclosure statement to determine your options, as the IRA custodian may limit your options. For instance, some custodians limit distribution options for beneficiaries to the five-year option.

For more insight, see Inherited Retirement Plan Assets - Part 1 and Part 2.

Question answered by Denise Appleby, CISP, CRC, CRPS, CRSP, APA

RELATED FAQS

  1. Are part-time employees eligible for fringe benefits?

    Learn how offering fringe benefits allows employers to entice new talent to join their teams, although part-time workers ...
  2. Who is exempt from paying Social Security taxes?

    Learn about the groups of people who qualify for exemption from Social Security taxes, and explore the process of applying ...
  3. How can I avoid paying taxes on my Social Security income?

    Learn how to calculate the percentage of Social Security income benefits that may be taxable, and discover strategies to ...
  4. What is the difference between a fixed and variable annuity?

    Understand the difference between fixed, variable and indexed annuities, and read a brief summary of their respective risks ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Elder Care

    Elder care, sometimes called elderly care, refers to services ...
  2. Gold IRA

    Definition of Gold IRA
  3. Eligible Transfer

    An IRS-allowed movement of assets into or out of an individual ...
  4. Leveraged Benefits

    The use – by a business owner or professional practitioner – ...
  5. Peri-Retirement

    A term for the period of time leading up to actual retirement. ...
  6. MyRA

    A new tax-advantaged retirement account that President Barack ...

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Just Retired? No Better Time for a Second ...

  2. Professionals

    When Your Client's Retirement is Around ...

  3. Professionals

    A New Wake-up Call for Savers

  4. Professionals

    Retirement Bliss? Not So fast: When ...

  5. Professionals

    Multiple Accounts? Here's How to Calculate ...

Trading Center