Philanthropy Puzzler: The SECURE Act | Sharpe Group
 
Posted April 2nd, 2020

Philanthropy Puzzler: The SECURE Act

The “Philanthropy Puzzler” features gift questions fundraisers may encounter in the field, followed by solutions from our panel of experts. If you would like to send us your own “puzzler,” please email us at info@SHARPEnet.com with “Philanthropy Puzzler” in the subject line.

 

Philanthropy Puzzler

Jerome’s three children (ages 48, 47 and 45) are named equal beneficiaries of his IRA. His intent was to allow them to take distributions over their life expectancies and spread out the income taxes that would be owed  on the annual withdrawals. He read that under the SECURE Act, the ability to stretch out the distributions has been sharply curtailed. He has asked if he needs to revisit the IRA beneficiary designation.

Puzzler Solution

Under the SECURE Act, the children will have ten years from Jerome’s death to completely drain the IRA. If Jerome has charities to which he would like to contribute through his estate plan, he might consider having the IRA pass in equal parts to three charitable remainder unitrusts, naming each child as a beneficiary. There is no income tax owed on IRA funds when the balance passes to the unitrust, allowing the children to receive annual distributions on the full amount over their lifetimes, similar to taking the required minimum distributions from an inherited IRA. When the trusts end, assets will pass to the charities Jerome has named. ■

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