This week’s Slott Report Mailbag looks into calculating RMDs with multiple beneficiaries and inheriting IRAs. As always, we recommend you work with a competent, educated financial advisor to keep your retirement nest egg safe and secure.


Good afternoon.

I have a question when one is faced with calculating RMDs and have multiple primary beneficiaries listed. Which beneficiary’s date of birth should be used in the calculation; the youngest, the oldest or the one in the middle?

Kind regards,




It depends. Are you talking about during the life of the IRA owner or after the IRA owner’s death?  If you’re talking about during the lifetime of the owner, the beneficiaries’ ages would make no difference as to the calculation of the owner’s RMD. If you’re talking about after death, then generally all of the beneficiaries would be “stuck” using the life expectancy of the oldest beneficiary. There is an exception though, if the beneficiaries set up separate inherited IRAs by December 31 of the year following the year of death. If they do so, they can each use their own age to calculate the RMDs for their inherited IRA.


I have an inherited IRA from my late mother, held with a brokerage company. Can I recharacterize a portion of this IRA to a Roth? It is all pre-tax dollars so I am paying tax on all the distributions or does that not make sense?

Thank you,




I think what you’re asking is whether you can convert the inherited IRA to an inherited Roth IRA, and the answer to that question would be “no.” Inherited IRAs cannot be converted.