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I'm pretty sure that you can withdraw CDs upon death of the account holder...but that may not be the best move.

What rate are the CDs earning? As long as they're beating inflation (after taxes), leave 'em be.

With that amount of dough you might want to hire a pro (for instance, Vanguard has a portfolio consultation for $300 I believe). Especially since you want to minimize tax headaches.

One thing to keep in perspective is that it's not the amount of tax you pay; it's the amount you have left over after paying taxes (and tax advisors) that counts.
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