The Slott Report | Ed Slott and Company, LLC

The Slott Report

Successor Beneficiaries: The "Beneficiary's Beneficiary"

It is vital that IRA owners name both primary and contingent beneficiaries. Failure to have a beneficiary in place at death could result in the loss of the extended payout, that is, the stretch IRA. Why? If the IRA owner’s beneficiary dies before the IRA owner and no contingent beneficiary was ever named, the IRA owner’s estate is usually the default beneficiary. The estate does not have a life expectancy to use for stretch distributions.

RMDs MUST Be Taken Before Doing a Rollover

A required minimum distribution (RMD) is not eligible for rollover. In an IRA, what this means is that when you have a required distribution for the year and you take a distribution payable to yourself, only the amount over and above the RMD amount can be put back into another IRA. This is true even if you take the distribution in January and you were planning on taking your RMD in December.

Slott Report Mailbag: Can I Combine an Inherited IRA With My Own?

This week's Slott Report Mailbag covers some common questions we receive each week. One question deals with the date of a person's first required minimum distribution (RMD), another with a family member using their IRA to purchase their son's mortgage and a third on combining an inherited IRA with an individual's own IRA.

Tax Deadline Relief for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Hurricane Sandy, also known as "Super-Storm Sandy," did considerable damage in the Northeast part of the United States. As a result, the IRS issued several news releases describing the postponement of certain tax-related deadlines for victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. These postponements also apply to IRA and other retirement plan deadlines. The relief applies to many counties in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

"Gifting" an IRA to Take Advantage of the Gift Tax Exemption? You CAN'T Do It

The unified gift and estate tax exemption is scheduled to drop from $5,120,000 to $1,000,000 as of January 1, 2013. This has prompted IRA account owners, and some advisors, to consider gifting retirement assets to children and grandchildren. For Roth IRA owners this would seem to be an especially attractive strategy. Who wouldn’t want to move an income-tax-free asset that has no step up in basis out of their estate to their beneficiaries?

Slott Report Mailbag: Is a Roth Conversion Right For Me?

We now turn our focus from the election (although the issues remain) to year-end financial planning and helping both consumers and financial advisors obtain the expert information they need to come together and form a perfect retirement team. This week's Slott Report Mailbag includes questions (and our answers) on inherited IRAs and tax forms and a 3-part question on the Roth conversion process.

Hurricane Sandy Financial Recovery: Where You Can Access Funds

Last week, Hurricane Sandy - a.k.a. Frankenstorm - pounded the eastern part of the United States. In the days since, thousands have been displaced from their homes, more are still without power and millions have been financially impacted by the storm that, by some estimates, could top $50 billion in damages. Unfortunately, many of those who’ve been affected could be about to make - or may have already made – a bad situation worse by making costly financial and tax mistakes or top of the losses suffered as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

You Can't Make IRA Contributions For a Deceased Person

You can’t make a traditional or Roth IRA contribution for someone who is dead. The issue comes up when someone dies, for example your spouse, and you want to make an IRA contribution for your now deceased spouse. You figure that because he/she was eligible to make the contribution when he/she was alive, you will just make it for him. You will file a joint federal income tax return for the year, and maybe even claim a tax deduction for the IRA contribution you made for your deceased spouse. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to do that.

IRA Withholding for 2012

If you are an IRA owner or an IRA beneficiary, you will have to make a federal income tax withholding choice when you take a distribution. The reason you have to make a withholding choice is because IRA distributions are taxable. In most cases, the withholding election is built into the withdrawal form provided by the custodian. You can be penalized for underestimating your tax liability.

Slott Report Mailbag: Can I Roll a Non-Governmental 457(b) Plan to an IRA?

This week's Slott Report Mailbag comes to you live from the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa and our Fall 2012 Master Elite and Elite IRA Advisor Group Workshop. We answer questions about rolling before-tax and/or after-tax money to an IRA, non-governmental 457(b) plans and rolling money to an IRA during bankruptcy.

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