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She was 70-1/2 taking distributions. from pg 29/30. My wife is an individual. She is not the sole beneficiary. She is not the owner's spouse. Use table I. Are the ages in the tables the age she was in 2001?

In 2002, the distribution is determined using Table III and your mother-in-law's life expectancy. The executor of the estate may want to determine whether there is any advantage to taking this distribution into the estate or dividing the IRA quickly and letting the beneficiaries receive the distribution directly. Assuming that the IRA is divided into beneficiary IRAs, distributions in 2003 and beyond will be determined based on your wife's "birthday age" in 2003 using Table I.

Can each beneficiary make their own choices?

If the original IRA is divided into respective beneficiary IRAs, each beneficiary can make his/her own decision within the allowable guidelines.

Does the amount have to be adjusted at the end of each year?

Yes. The dollar amount of each year's distribution is based on the IRA's value as of the preceding 12/31 and the appropriate life expectancy value. The life expectancy values are known ahead of time.

Can the account be used to trade stocks as if it were my wife's IRA?

Yes, provided your IRA trustee approves. In other words, if the IRA is currently at a bank, you'll have to move it to a brokerage. The rules for what you can and cannot do within the beneficiary IRA are the same as for any other IRA. However, you cannot make contributions to a beneficiary IRA, you can't combine it with other IRAs and you cannot make rollovers with/into it. (Remember, in a rollover you receive the funds as an intermediary between two trustees. Direct trustee to trustee transfers are allowed.)

If you choose to invest in securities, the required annual distribution will rise and fall with the change in value of the IRA.

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