Education Savings Accounts and Inherited IRAs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag
By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF®
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Can an Education Savings Account (ESA) be rolled into a Roth IRA under the recently enacted SECURE 2.0? 529 plans clearly can - beginning in 2024 - but I have found no reference to ESAs. Can you kindly clarify this and direct me to any literature?
The new SECURE 2.0 rule allowing “leftover” 529 plan dollars to be rolled to a Roth IRA (effective in 2024 and subject to strict rules) does not extend to ESAs. The law is specific to 529 plans only. However, there is a workaround. If the beneficiaries are the same, an ESA can be transferred to a 529 plan. Those funds could then potentially be rolled over to a Roth IRA under the new SECURE 2.0 rule.
I have a new inherited IRA and I believe that I am subject to both the 10-year rule and to required minimum distributions (RMDs). Is this true? My situation:
- Original owner was age 92 and passed in September 2022.
- Original owner was taking RMDs and took the 2022 RMD in February 2022.
- My brother and I (age 61 and 63) each inherited half of this IRA; the paperwork on this inheritance was not complete until late January 2023. We are the sons of the deceased.
How do we calculate the RMDs we need to take, if any? What balance do we use? Balance dated when? Whose age/life expectancy do we use? When does the 10-year-rule clock start for us?
While your scenario seems complicated, it is typical. To keep the answer as clear as possible, I have broken it down into bullet points:
- Yes, you and your brother are both subject to the 10-year rule.
- Yes, you and your brother are both subject to RMDs in years 1 – 9 of that 10-year rule because the original account owner was already taking RMDs.
- Since the decedent passed in 2022, the 10-year rule begins in 2023, and the accounts must be emptied by December 31, 2032.
- RMDs are calculated using your own single life expectancy based on the age you will turn on your birthday in 2023. (Your brother will do the same for his inherited IRA and his own age.)
- Using your age this year, identify the applicable factor from the Single Life Expectancy Table. This will be your starting factor to calculate the 2023 RMD in year 1 of the 10-year rule.
- Subtract 1 from the original factor each successive year (years 2 – 9).
- For 2023, divide the original factor into the 12/31/2022 account balance. If the inherited accounts had not yet been established by that date, use one-half the actual 12/31/2022 balance in the original IRA owned by the decedent. (Use one half because you and your brother are splitting the original account 50/50.)
- Each year subtract 1 from the previous year’s factor, divide that into the previous year’s 12/31 balance, and empty whatever remains by the end of 2032.
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