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but 71 is more than 70.5 and RMDs kick in the year *following* age 70.5 --
so it depends on exactly when he turned 71 and when he died.

Not quite. For the owner the question is when you turn 70 1/2. Your first RMD must be taken for the year in which you turn 70 1/2, but you can delay taking it until April 1 of the following year, which is called the required beginning date.

For the beneficiary the question is whether the owner died before or after the required beginning date.

I think we've now settled that OP was wondering whether it's possible for a spousal beneficiary to avoid the RMD's that come with an inherited IRA but retain the flexibility to take funds as desired before age 59 1/2. The answer to that is maybe, up to a point.

Note the bullet on page 36 of Pub 590 in the section on calculating the RMD. A spouse beneficiary may be able to delay RMD's on an inherited IRA until the owner would have reached 70 1/2. In OP's case the owner had already reached that age, so this provision is moot in that case.

Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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