Estate and Distribution Planning

8th Edition Life and Death Planning
The 8th edition of Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits is shipping.

Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits (8th ed. 2019)


Click here to download Natalie’s outline (most recently updated 6/2/21) covering SECURE, including new edition of IRS Publication 590-B and the “final” new life expectancy tables for computing RMDs effective in 2022 (NOT 2021). Natalie is still working on a formal update to the book Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits (8th ed. 2019), which will posted here for free download someday..

Sign up here if you wish to receive Natalie’s email newsletter Choate’s Notes, which will include notice when an update is posted.

To all readers of the 8th edition: The “SECURE” law enacted December 20, 2019, and effective January 1, 2020, makes significant changes to the minimum distribution rules. Many sections of the book will need updates to reflect the new law. Here is a brief description of the changes, followed by a detailed analysis of SECURE and its effects on our clients’ estate plans:

Most significantly, SECURE replaces the life expectancy payout with a 10-year payout (modelled on the old 5-year rule) for all but 5 specified categories of designated beneficiary—surviving spouses, minor children of the participant, disabled and chronically ill beneficiaries, and beneficiaries less than 10 years younger than the participant.

SECURE does NOT change the definition of designated beneficiary. Your beneficiary designations are still good. And it does not affect the definition of see-through trust—your conduit trusts and see-through accumulation trusts (STATs) are still perfectly good. The only trouble is, except for the specified categories of designated beneficiary (called “eligible designated beneficiaries”), the existing estate plan won’t work as expected—the benefits will have to be distributed in 10 years rather than over the life expectancy of the designated beneficiary (or oldest trust beneficiary).

Other significant changes: Age for starting required minimum distributions raised to 72 from 70-1⁄2 for people born after June 30, 1949. The age cap for contributing to a traditional IRA is removed. And for deaths prior to 2020, where benefits are being paid out over the life expectancy of the designated beneficiary, the 10- year rule will kick in upon the death of the designated beneficiary.

Click here for the detailed discussion of SECURE and its changes in the RMD rules. As soon as possible, I will publish a section-by-section update of the 8th ed. and simultaneously update the electronic edition of the book. I am presenting seminars on SECURE at Heckerling in Orlando on January 16-17, 2020, and hope to also offer webcasts to ILS subscribers and Leimberg Information Services subscribers in January 2020.

— Natalie Choate

Natalie B. Choate is America’s leading author and speaker on estate and distribution planning for retirement benefits. Her book, Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits, is a leading resource for estate planning professionals.

What’s New!

The 2019 8th edition of Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits is printed!

Click here to ORDER the book.

add to cartIf you are new to this site, or if it has been awhile since your last visit, take some time to look around. There are many additions including an easy-to-use ordering system.

Publications & Downloads

Special Reports can be purchased and downloaded instantly. You can order The QPRT Manual online and download a copy in minutes.

The Book

Learn more about Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits.

You can order the print edition of Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits and have a printed copy delivered to you. View ordering information.

Or you can subscribe to an online, digital version, which you can visit, log in to, and use as a quick reference.