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Providing for Minor Children After SECURE

The new law makes it more difficult for parents to set up an estate plan that maximizes the funds available for the care and education of their children.

Your clients are young parents, setting up an estate plan to provide for their children if both parents should die while those children are still too young to fend for themselves. The clients' principal assets are their home and their retirement plans (401(k)s and IRAs). How can they best structure the children's inheritance to maximize the funds available for their care and education?

The SECURE Act of late 2019 has made this always-daunting planning problem more difficult. Prior to 2020, retirement benefits left to a "see-through trust" for the child's benefit could be distributed, after the client's death, in annual installments over the child's life expectancy. Because of the child's long life expectancy, these annual required minimum distributions, or RMDs, were very small. If the trust benefited several children, the oldest child's life expectancy applied, but it was still very long, and the resulting RMDs were still very small.

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