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The new rules for required minimum distributions(RMD) have done away with all of the dificult decisions that you had to make at 70.5 years and before your RBD,
April 1st. of the year following the year you turned 70.5. The owner of an IRA, 403b, 401k, 457, etc still has to start taking distributions by April 1st of the year following turning 70.5. How you determine the minimum distributions has been made easier because there is only one uniform life expectance table(MDIB) that everyone uses. All you need to know is your age and the balance in your accounts and you can calculate the RMD. For your 2001 RMD, you would divide your balance in your account, as of Dec.31, 2000 by your life expectancy from the MDIB table. The only expection to this is if you are married and your spouse is more than 10 years younger than you. You would then use the joint life expectancy of you and your spouse. You do not need to know your beneficiary at the RBD. The designated beneficiary of your plan is not final until Dec. 31st of the year following your death. This allows your estate to stretch out your distributions to the max. The beneficiary then can distribute the balance in your account over their life expectancy. There are more details, but these are the basics. See these web sites for more info. Ed Slott's web site, very good Natalie Choate's site, very good Jim Lange's site
Hope this helps
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