Five-Year Rule

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Five-Year Rule

An option for the heir of an IRA account holder who dies before the required beginning date. Under the five-year rule, the appropriate heir must receive all assets from the IRA by December 31 of the fifth year following the account holder's death. The heir may opt out of the five-year rule and receive the assets over his/her life expectancy, effectively treating the heir as if he/she were the account holder. It is important to note that the five-year rule only applies to account holders who die before the required beginning date.