Why is it taking so long to get this inheritance?

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Q. My mother died at 72 in January. She left me as sole beneficiary two IRA Certificates of Deposit. When I went to the bank I gave my identification, the death certificate and other documents and they said they would review it. I recently heard tax penalties were lifted for early withdrawals. I need the money. Can I just take it out? How long should this take?
— Beneficiary

A. We’re sorry to hear about your mother.

This shouldn’t be that complicated.

If you are the designated beneficiary on death, then providing the death certificate and ID showing you are the person named as beneficiary should allow you to rollover the IRA, said Yale Hauptman, an estate planning attorney with Hauptman and Hauptman in Livingston.

He said some banks erroneously insist on an executor’s certificate, but accounts that are designated “payable on death” are not subject to probate so the executor cannot access these accounts, he said.

“It should not take this long for the bank to conduct a review but I suspect that the COVID crisis may have lengthened that a bit,” Hauptman said. “Nevertheless, you should get an answer and be able to access the account by now.”

He recommends you call the bank again to find out the status and press them to tell you specifically what the holdup is. If you can’t get a satisfactory answer, ask to speak to the manager.

Once you do roll the account over, it would be subjected to the new inherited IRA rules that say you must take out annual distributions and the entire amount must be taken within 10 years.

So if you wanted to take the whole thing, you can and there would be no penalties. But, importantly, you would still have to pay taxes on the withdrawals.

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This story was originally published on July 22, 2020.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.