Articles Posted in SECURE Act

Part of our job as estate planning attorneys is to make sure our client population is up to date on recent acts, amendments, and changes in case law that might affect their long-term planning. Importantly, the SECURE Act (“Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement”) is important to know about, as it affects the retirement and estate plans of Americans in any stage of their own planning processes.

What is the SECURE Act?

The SECURE Act is part of a major spending bill that was passed in 2019. The Act has several significant implications for those planning for retirement, and it is important for anyone engaged in long-term planning to understand its effects.

The SECURE Act’s Implications

First and foremost, the Act pushes back the age at which retirement plan participants need to take required minimums distributions from age 70½ to age 72. This essentially means that those wanting to take distributions from their IRA can wait until April 1, after the year they turn 72, to begin these required minimum distributions. Giving this cushion allows for a bit more flexibility that can end up being greatly beneficial for those wanting to use money from their IRA.

Next, the SECURE Act makes changes to an important law that allowed decedents’ beneficiaries to receive the assets to which they were entitled over a long period of time. By taking these payments gradually over a lifetime, beneficiaries could defer taxes on the money and end up receiving twice the amount of money than what they would have received via a lump sum.

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In the final days of 2022, the U.S. Congress passed a federal law known as the SECURE Act 2.0. This law addresses retirement accounts and distributions throughout the country and was signed by the president in late December. While this law primarily affects how Americans manage their personal retirement accounts, the new mandates will also affect how revocable trusts and other financial instruments can be managed.

The SECURE Act 2.0 is based on an acronym meaning Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement. According to an analysis published by a professional legal publication, a primary feature of the act is an adjustment of the minimum retirement age to begin making mandatory distributions from a 401(k) or traditional IRA account. Under the new law, retirees are permitted to wait until they turn 73 years old to begin withdrawing funds from their retirement accounts without an additional penalty. This change puts more control in the hands of retirees, permitting them to keep earning interest on their money for longer.

Another feature of the SECURE Act 2.0 is to increase the allowable amount of “catch-up” contributions to 401(k) and other accounts. Under the new scheme, people between the ages of 60 and 63 who deposited less than the maximum allowable amount earlier in life will be permitted to deposit at least $10,000 per year to their accounts, up to the maximum allowable amount. This change in the law will allow the aging population to invest money they earned or received later in life into their retirement accounts for later use without tax penalties.

Planning for retirement can already be daunting. IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and TSPs can sound like an alphabet soup of hoops to jump through and requirements to know. On top of general planning for retirement, Congress occasionally will enact legislation that changes the taxation scheme for various retirement accounts and tools. While these changes can often be beneficial, knowing how best to navigate a new legislative environment can be half of the battle to planning for retirement in a savvy way.

For example, the SECURE 2.0 Act will change the required minimum distribution rules. Required minimum distribution is the amount of money a person must begin withdrawing from certain types of employer-sponsored retirement plans or traditional IRAs at retirement age. These required distributions can impact how you may plan for retirement, including avoiding hefty tax penalties or certain types of accounts. Talking to an attorney well-versed in estate and retirement planning can help you understand how these rules change and how they may or may not impact your plans. Furthermore, each of these rules has different implementation and start dates, and the impact of these changes can change depending on your birth year. Understanding these nuances is key to taking full advantage of the changes, which were designed to make retirement saving easier for people in the United States.

SECURE 2.0’s Changes

Under SECURE 2.0, the required age for federal employees to begin taking their required minimum distributions is now later than it was under SECURE 1.0 and before the passage of SECURE 1.0. The age has generally moved from 70.5 to 73 in 2023. In 2033, the age will be 75.

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When family members think about what assets they may receive after a loved one has passed away, they often think about physical property or sentimental objects. However, another common inheritance is an individual retirement account or an IRA. An IRA allows an individual to save money for retirement with tax advantages. There are strict rules regarding an IRA and how a beneficiary can use it. Because of this, beneficiaries may be confused about how to manage their new IRA and the specificities surrounding the account. Below are common questions and explanations about IRAs and retirement planning.

What is an IRA?

An IRA (individual retirement account) is a financial account set up for individuals to save for retirement. IRAs are either tax-free or are set up on a tax-deferred basis. There are also different types of IRAs, including a traditional and Roth IRA. The major distinction between these two IRAs is the timing of the tax advantages. Traditional IRAs allow individuals to make contributions now and the earnings are tax-deferred until the money is withdrawn. On the other hand, with Roth IRAs, individuals make contributions with money they have already paid taxes on—therefore, the money will grow tax-free.

When people reach retirement age, many assume that the majority of the taxes they will need to pay are over. However, in many cases, taxes may be even more burdensome once a person has retired. Be it in the form of an estate tax, Roth IRAs, or life insurance plans, seniors have many questions about making the most of their retirement savings and ensuring they are still passing along assets and contributions to their beneficiaries once they have passed. Below are some common questions individuals thinking about retirement planning have, along with explanations to these issues—so Texans can ensure their retirement plan is not chipped away by unknown taxes.

What is the SECURE Act, and How Will it Affect My Retirement?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019—better known as the SECURE Act—changed many of the rules and regulations for retirement income planning. One fundamental change that affects retirees is the elimination of the stretch IRA. In the past, a stretch IRA has allowed non-spouses that are inheriting a retirement account to stretch out disbursements of the account over their lifetime. Generally, retirees who knew their spouse would have enough money for retirement would utilize a stretch IRA to maintain their family’s assets by naming the youngest person in their family as the beneficiary. Now, the rule requires the beneficiary to receive the full payout of the inherited IRA within ten years of the initial person’s passing.

Creating a Houston estate plan and preparing for retirement can often be an extremely stressful process, especially with the passage of new laws and regulations that impact a person’s plans. One such law that affected many people’s retirement savings was the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act came into effect on January 1, 2020, and created new requirements for defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Below are some of the retirement and estate planning aspects most impacted by the passage of the SECURE Act.

Individual Retirement Accounts

Prior to the SECURE Act, an individual had to start withdrawing funds from their IRA, called required minimum distributions (RMDs), after they turned 70 ½ years old. Now, individuals are not required to withdraw from their IRA until they reach 72 years old. As there are income tax payments associated with RMDs, the SECURE Act can help reduce a person’s overall taxation rate. The SECURE Act also removed the age limit for IRA contributions; now, people can contribute to their IRA at any age, as long as they are still working. Before the passage of the SECURE Act, where removing funds from an IRA before turning 60 years old would make the withdrawal subject to income tax, people can now draw up to $5,000 from an IRA penalty-free after the birth or adoption of a child.

“When is the last time you updated your will? Could your beneficiaries have changed? If you have a trust, did you actually fund it? Is your plan ready for the new SECURE Act? Here are five mistakes you don’t want to make.”

You don’t have to be super-wealthy to see the benefits from a well-prepared estate plan. However, you must make sure the plan is updated regularly, so these kinds of mistakes don’t occur and hurt the people you love most, reports Kiplinger in its article entitled “Is Anything Wrong with Your Estate Plan? Here are 5 Common Mistakes.”

An estate plan contains legal documents that will provide clarity about how you’d like your wishes executed, both during your life and after you die. There are three key documents:

1.13.20Check out some often-overlooked retirement planning facts of life that everyone should be aware of.

It’s crucial to have a plan for your retirement, so let’s get educated. There are some facts you might not know about retirement, like the way in which your Social Security benefit can be taxed and how to factor in travel expenses.

Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “5 Surprising Facts to Know About Retirement” gives us five important facts to learn about retirement.

1.7.20“A new law could affect the IRAs and 401(k)s of millions of Americans in 2020.”

The SECURE Act is the most substantial change to our retirement savings system in over a decade, says Covering Katy (TX) News’ recent article entitled “Laws Change for IRA and 401K Retirement Savings Plans.” The new law, called the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, includes several important changes. Let’s take a look at them.

There is a higher age for RMDs. The current law says that you must start taking withdrawals or required minimum distributions from your traditional IRA and 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan when you turn 70½. The new law delays this to age 72, so you can hold on to your retirement savings a while longer.

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