If you are considering new or additional beneficiaries for your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), it's important that you keep the annual deadline of September 30 in mind. This will be crucial in determining life expectancy factors, especially in the case of multiple beneficiaries. It will have a deciding effect on what is known as the “stretch period” for distribution of your IRA assets. For example, suppose you name two children as beneficiaries and also want to include a charity. A charity is not an individual and therefore has no life expectancy, which means that the assets for all three beneficiaries must be distributed by December 31 of the fifth year following your death. This may cause tax disadvantages for your children unless the charity agrees to distribute its portion of the assets by September 30 of the year following your death.
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