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f it's left in the account titled in the name of the deceased, F/B/O surviving spouse as beneficiary, there will be an RMD, but at age 52 that will not be large. And she can always take more than the minimum, since the payouts are due to death, there's no 10% early distribution penalty. She doesn't have to lock herself into a lifetime payout plan.


This is where the confusion exists. After talking with the IRA administrator, she believes she was told that she could have it both ways: No RMD and no early distribution penalty. I verifying that my understanding was correct before talking with the IRA administrator.
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