Estate and Distribution Planning

8th Edition Life and Death Planning

The 8th edition of Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits (pictured above) is the newest edition of Natalie’s book. Since it was published prior to SECURE, if you buy the 8th edition you should ALSO download the free outline “Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits in a Post-SECURE World” [click here] which explains the changes made by SECURE.

Here are some FAQs:

  • Will there be another edition of Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits published? No 9th edition is planned at this time. There will definitely not be any new edition attempted until after the Treasury issues final SECURE regulations which has not happened yet.
  • Will there be a Supplement to the 8th edition for SECURE’s changes? Yes, Natalie plans to post a SECURE supplement to the 8th edition FREE at this website but it has not been written yet. Until that is posted, please make do with the free outline “Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits in a Post-SECURE World.”
  • Is the e-book edition up to date for SECURE? Chapters of the ebook are being gradually updated for SECURE but the updating is not complete. For ANY inquiries about the ebook please go to the ebook publisher’s website

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


Click here to download Natalie’s outline (most recently updated 12/14/21) covering SECURE, including the latest 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 be posted here for free download someday.

Sign up here if you wish to receive Natalie’s email newsletter Choate’s Notes, which will include a 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. For more detailed discussion download the SECURE Outline:

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 in many many cases—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.

— 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.

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