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<<There's a lot of discussion here re: how IRAs are treated for non spouse beneficiaries. What I'm trying to figure out is: does this all apply equally to all retirement plans?>>

Not necessarily. It's similar...but not necessarily the same.

<<For a regular IRA, it's 5 years or lifetime, taxable as you take it out, as regular income.>>

Well, no...not exactly. There are other options also. You can read my article on this point in the taxes FAQ area for additional options for non-spousal beneficiaries.

There's a lot of discussion here re: how IRAs are treated for non spouse beneficiaries. What I'm trying to figure out is: does this all apply equally to all retirement plans?

For a regular IRA, it's 5 years or lifetime, taxable as you take it out, as regular income.

How does this work for:

a 401k?

a SIMPLE?

how about a ROTH? (specifically, here I assume the tax exemption would hold).

If all of these are treated the same way, it seems to me, in my own naiive way, that I should roll over anything and everything to a ROTH whenever I can without taking too large of a tax hit. When I leave that one behind, whoever gets it gets it tax free over 5 years, or can take it over a lifetime.
If all of these are treated the same way, it seems to me, in my own naiive way, that I should roll over anything and everything to a ROTH whenever I can without taking too large of a tax hit. When I leave that one behind, whoever gets it gets it tax free over 5 years, or can take it over a lifetime.
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