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You need an estate attorney. I would ask professional acquaintances such as a minister or your attorney friend for suggestions. Or you could try the phone book.

The first question I would ask is: Should you pay the final nursing home bill? After all, the IRA is your money now, not part of your mother's probate estate, and therefore the nursing home should have no claim to it. You may feel you have a moral obligation to pay.

Second, should you serve as executor or administrator of the estate? You should find the will, if one exists. Third, how should her affairs be put in order?

Your mother's final income tax return, should be sraightforward, assuming you do become executor.

One complexity on your future tax calculations: How much must you withdraw each year from the inherited IRA.

Assuming your mother lived beyond April 1 of the year following the year she became 70 1/2, you must make Required Minimum Withdrawals each year from the IRA based on your age on your birthday in the year after your mother died. Also, you must make a distribution for her final year if she did not make the regular withdrawal before she died.

If your mother had not reached the required beginning date indicated above. you can use the regular annual method, or take all the assets out of the IRA by the fifth year following your mother's death.

Your IRA custodian is required by law to calculate the amounts of requied IRA RMDs each year. I will provide details of calculation, including required inputs from the actuarial tables, upon request.
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