The FAQs on the SECURE Act

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was enacted Jan. 1, 2020. It brought with it the most significant changes to retirement plans since 2006.

What Changed

  1. You can contribute to your IRA longer. You can now contribute to your IRA past the age of 70½, allowing you more time to save.
  2. The required minimum distribution (RMD) age changed.* The SECURE Act changed the age at which you must start taking RMDs from your retirement account from 70½ to 72. This change gives your account additional time to grow.

    *Notably, for those born BEFORE July 1, 1949, the previous rules apply. Donors who turned 70½ in 2019 or earlier will have to continue to take required minimum distributions.
  3. IRA rules changed for most non-spousal beneficiaries. If you name someone other than your spouse as the beneficiary of your IRA, they now have to withdraw the entire amount by the end of 10 years (previously, they could stretch this over their lifetimes). The law takes effect for deaths of IRA owners after Dec. 31, 2019, so IRAs inherited before then still benefit from prior law.

What Stayed the Same

  1. You can still withdraw funds starting at age 59½ with no penalty. You can still access your retirement savings prior to 59½, but there is a 10% early penalty withdrawal. The new law allows for an aggregate amount of $5,000 to be distributed from a retirement plan without a 10% penalty in the event of a qualified birth or adoption.
  2. Spouses can still take distributions throughout their lifetimes. When you name your spouse as the beneficiary of your IRA, they can continue to take distributions from the account throughout their lifetime.
  3. IRA owners age 70½ and older can still make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) to qualified charities.

Review Your Plans

If you have questions about the impact of the SECURE Act on your retirement plans, be sure to make an appointment with your financial advisor. They can review the plans you have in place (including your beneficiary designations) and help make sure you are still on the right track.

Grantor Charitable Lead Annuity Trust

Provides income payments to a qualified charitable organization for a period of years, the lives of one or more individuals or a combination of the two; after which, trust assets are paid to the donor of the trust.

A power of attorney form that transfers ownership of stock.

Securities such as stock that are in certificate (paper) form.

Investments that have increased in value since the time of their purchase.

Testamentary means bequeathed through one's will.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

I give [insert amount, percentage of the estate, or 'the rest and remainder of my estate'] to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Inc.

Federal Tax ID #95-3251490

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor-advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the House or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) provides income to you, as the donor of the CRT, or to other named individuals, and does so each year for life or for a period not exceeding 20 years. The remainder of the assets go to your chosen charity.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the House as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the House as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the House where you agree to make a gift to the House and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.