Spouses Allowed RMD Without Accepting IRA

Physician's Money DigestNovember 2005
Volume 12
Issue 15


The IRS has finally clarified the issue ofa spouse's ability to disclaim an inheritedIRA. Even after taking out the requiredminimum distribution (RMD) due for theyear if the spouse was over 701/2, in orderto avoid a penalty, a beneficiary can stillhave the ability to disclaim the IRA. Whywould a spouse not accept an inheritance?For tax reasons, of course. According to, when a spouse disclaimsan inheritance, it is not considered ataxable gift. The new ruling provides a safeharbor for surviving spouses to pass anIRA directly to the next beneficiary, such astheir children. Couples who have notplanned their estate properly will benefitfrom the ruling if a surviving spouse is leftwith too much money in the estate,exceeding the $1.5-million estate taxexemption. By accepting the RMD, you arenot accepting the entire IRA, leaving a survivingspouse time to decide what to dowith the remainder of the account.

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