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On your IRAs, you have to determine what kind of IRAs they are.

ROTH IRAs, for example: You put the money in an IRA after you've already paid taxes on it as income. It grows for years (hopefully). Eventually you take it out, as you see fit, and it doesn't count as income, and you don't pay taxes on any of it! Or you leave it to someone else and they can do the same. Wonderful!

Other IRAs have different rules. The ones where money was put in before taxes become taxable income whenever you take them out. The ones where money was put in after taxes are partially taxable income and partially not-taxable income when you take them out. More paperwork. All of these non-ROTH IRAs have more complex rules about how much can be taken out and when.

That's a gross over-simplification. Here's a much more detailed discussion: http://www.fool.com/money/allaboutiras/allaboutiras01.htm
http://www.fool.com/money/allaboutiras/allaboutiras02.htm
...and more, in the pages following those two :-)

RDW
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