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I'm trying to help my 70-1/2 year old mother. She is going to start to withdraw from her IRA, and has elected the take it all out over a 5-year period rather than the 10-year option that the provider also offered.

Be aware that the IRS changed the requirements for withdrawal of IRA funds starting at age 70-1/2. She can withdraw at a much reduced rate thereby incurring less tax liability and allowing the remaining funds to keep on growing tax deferred. For the first withdrawal she can take the total value of her IRA (and 401K's if any) on December 31, 2001 and divide it by 24.7 (not sure of the decimal amount). For the second withdrawal she takes the value of her IRA's on December 2002 and divides by 23.? (and so on). There is a table published by the IRS (someone else can provide the exact number).
If the administrator requires a different withdrawal then have the IRA moved to another administrator or bank (make it a direct transfer between administrators). Most banks would be willing to provide the paperwork for direct transfers. At any time she can withdraw more than the required amount if she wants the money for some reason. Good Luck
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