IRA, 401K, 403b and 457 Plans are assets that have unique tax rules called “Income in Respect of the Decedent (IRD)” to the beneficiary(s) of your plan. Whatever you distribute is subject to California income tax and Federal income tax and it is taxed at the person’s effective tax rate for that tax year.
There are many opportunities for planning with IRD assets however most beneficiaries spend this money no matter the value within 18 months. The only beneficiary entity that does not have to pay an income tax is a charitable organization. Therefore, if you want to give to a charity in a tax wise manner, make the charity(s) a beneficiary of a commercial annuity or an IRA. You can also name a charity and have the charity give your son or daughter a charitable gift annuity for the rest of their lives and upon their death(s) the charity can use the money.
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