Inheriting Your Spouse's IRA

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So you've inherited your spouse's IRA. What you do now could have far-reaching tax implications. The one thing you cannot do is ignore the whole issue. Why? Because if you fail to withdraw at least the required minimum amount from your inherited IRA, you will be charged a penalty equal to 50% of the shortfall. This is one of the toughest penalties in our beloved tax code. So pay attention and learn how to compute 2005 required minimum withdrawals from an IRA you inherited from your spouse.

Roth IRAs
Keep in mind, the mandatory withdrawal rules apply to traditional IRAs and inherited simplified employee pension, or SEP, accounts (since they are considered IRAs for this purpose). Slightly different guidelines apply to Roth IRAs.

Specifically, if you have inherited your spouse's Roth and you'd like it to continue to grow tax-free, you should transfer the account to your own name. Why? Because with Roth accounts you aren't required to take any minimum withdrawals from your own account as long as you live.