Are You Making the Most of the Secure and Cares Acts?

Benjamin LongIncome Tax, IRA, RMDs

Benjamin E. Long: Expert Attorney in Estate Planning and Probate Law with a Focus on SECURE and CARES Act Implications

About Benjamin Long

Benjamin E. Long, the founding attorney at Schlagel Long, LLC, stands at the forefront of estate planning and probate law, particularly in the context of recent changes brought about by the SECURE and CARES Acts. With a deep understanding of these acts and their impact on Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Benjamin is uniquely positioned to guide clients through the complexities of estate planning in today's ever-evolving legal landscape.


A Kansas State University alumnus with a B.S. in Biology, Benjamin brings a methodical and analytical approach to law, further honed at Washburn University School of Law. His expertise isn’t just theoretical; he's a practiced litigator with a broad experience spectrum, covering probate, property, and business matters. This extensive background is crucial for navigating the nuanced changes in IRA regulations and their implications for estate planning.

Ben's SECURE Act experience

The SECURE Act, effective from January 1, 2020, and the subsequent CARES Act, effective March 27, 2020, have introduced significant alterations in IRA planning. Benjamin's proficiency in these areas is indispensable for clients looking to optimize their estate plans. He provides tailored advice on aspects like Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), beneficiary rules, and the opportunities for IRA contributions at any age, ensuring his clients’ financial legacies align with their personal values and goals.

Ben's Approach

Benjamin’s approach is holistic; he doesn't just consider financial wealth but also intellectual, spiritual, and human assets. He believes in listening to clients’ stories, understanding their values, and crafting estate plans that truly reflect their life's work and aspirations. This client-centered approach is vital when addressing the complex scenarios posed by the SECURE and CARES Acts, whether it's adjusting estate plans to new beneficiary rules or advising on tax-efficient strategies for IRA contributions and distributions.

Ben's Professional Affiliations

His professional affiliations, including the American Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, and Johnson County Bar Association, and his role in the U.S. District Court District of Kansas since 2011, underline his commitment to his field. Additionally, accolades like the Super Lawyer Rising Star and Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award testify to his excellence and dedication.

For clients navigating the intricate paths of estate planning under the SECURE and CARES Acts, Benjamin E. Long is not just an attorney but a trusted advisor, ready to guide them through each step with expertise and empathy.

Benjamin E. Long - Estate Planning Attorney

Changes to IRAs under the SECURE Act

“There have been several law changes that affect IRAs passed since December 2019.”

The SECURE Act made a number of changes to IRAs, effective January 1, 2020. It was followed by the CARES Act, effective March 27, 2020, which brought even more changes. A recent article from the Milwaukee Business Journal, titled “IRA planning tips for changes associated with the SECURE and CARES acts,” explains what account owners need to know.

Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

The age when you have to take your RMD increased from 70½ to 72, if you turned 70½ on or before December 31, 2019. Younger than 70½ before 2020? You still must take your RMDs. But, if you can, consider deferring any distributions from your RMD, until you must. This gives your IRA a chance to rebound, rather than locking in any losses from the current market.

Beneficiary Rules

Beneficiary rules changed. The “stretch” feature of the IRA was eliminated. Any non-spousal beneficiary of an IRA owner who dies after Dec. 31, 2019, must take the entire amount of the IRA within 10 years after the date of death. The exceptions are those who fall into the “Eligible Designated Beneficiary” category. That includes the surviving spouse, a child under age 18, a disabled or chronically ill beneficiary, or a beneficiary who is not more than ten years younger than the IRA owner. The Eligible Designated Beneficiary can take distributions over their life expectancy, starting in the year after the death of the IRA holder. If your estate plan intended any IRA to be paid to a trust, the trust may include a “conduit IRA” provision. This may not work under the new rules. Talk with your estate planning attorney.

Contributions at Any Age

IRA contributions can be made at any age, as long as there is earned income. If you have earned income and are 70 or 71, consider continuing to contribute to a Roth IRA. These assets grow tax free and qualified withdrawals are also tax free. If you plan on making Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD), you’ll be able to use that contribution (up to $100,000 per year) from the IRA to offset any RMDs for the year and not be treated as a taxable distribution.

Changes to IRAs under the CARES Act

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Contributions Deadline

The deadline for contributions for traditional or Roth IRAs this year is July 15, 2020. The 2019 limit is $6,000 if you are younger than 50 and $7,000 if you are 50 and older.

RMDs have been waived for 2020. This applies to life expectancy payments. It may be possible to “undo” an RMD, if it meets these qualifications:

Waiver of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

  • The RMD must have been taken between February 1—May 15 and must be recontributed or rolled over prior to July 15.
  • RMDs taken in January or after May 15 are not eligible.
  • Only one rollover per person is permitted within the last 12 months.
  • Life expectancy payments may not be rolled over.

Coronavirus-Related Distributions

Individuals impacted by coronavirus may be permitted to take out $100,000 from an IRA with no penalties. They are eligible if they have:

  • Been diagnosed with SARS-Cov-2 or COVID-19
  • A spouse or dependent has been diagnosed

Have experienced adverse consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed or laid off or having work hours reduced due to the virus, are unable to work because of a lack of child care, closed or reduced hours of a business owned or operated by the individual or due to other factors, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Note that these distributions are still taxable, but the income taxes can be spread ratably over a three-year period and are not subject to the 10% early distribution penalty.

Keep careful records, as it is not yet known how any of these distributions/redistributions will be accounted for through tax reporting.

Reference: Milwaukee Business Journal (June 1, 2020) “IRA planning tips for changes associated with the SECURE and CARES acts”

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