Mackall, Crounse & Moore, PLC has joined Dewitt Ross & Stevens S.C.

The newly formed DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C. will provide clients with enhanced legal services
and efficiencies as well as access to more than 100 attorneys practicing in nearly 30 areas of
law in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Dismiss this message


News & Education

Back to Minnesota Articles

Filter by:

Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act - The SECURE Act

On December 20, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“SECURE”) Act (the “Act”) was signed into law. The Act became effective on January 1, 2020, and it significantly affects the administration of retirement accounts, such as 401k, IRAs, Roth IRAs, defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans, and 529 college savings accounts, of individuals whose deaths occur on or after January 1, 2020. 

IRA Rollovers

Importantly, the Act does not modify the ability of a surviving spouse to complete a spousal rollover of the deceased spouse’s retirement account into his or her own retirement account. The Act does, however, make substantial changes to the administration of retirement accounts for non-spouse beneficiaries.  

Prior to the Act, a non-spouse beneficiary (including a trust) who received an interest in a decedent’s retirement account was permitted to transfer the retirement account to an “Inherited IRA” (sometimes called a “stretch IRA”) in order to take (i.e. “stretch”) required distributions over the non-spouse beneficiary’s own lifetime, which was typically much greater than the decedent’s life expectancy. Because the growth in value of assets in an Inherited IRA remained tax-deferred until withdrawn, if the beneficiary was much younger than the decedent, the beneficiary could benefit from the tax-deferred nature of the assets and only be required to take small mandatory distributions each year for the remainder of the beneficiary’s lifetime.  

The Act eliminates the ability of a non-spouse beneficiary (except minors, individuals who are disabled or chronically ill, or beneficiaries who are not more than ten (10) years younger than the account owner) to stretch distributions from an Inherited IRA over the beneficiary’s lifetime. Instead, a non-spouse beneficiary must now distribute the entire Inherited IRA within 10 years (and in some cases, 5 years) of the decedent’s death. Distributions from the Inherited IRA do not need to be made in any particular installments (e.g., 1/10th per year for 10 years); the entire amount must simply be distributed by the tenth (10th) anniversary of the death of the retirement account owner. The new ten-year rule also applies to Roth IRAs and Roth 401ks even though distributions from Roth accounts are not taxed to the beneficiary. 

Other Changes

The Act makes several other modifications to retirement accounts, effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2020: 

  • Increase in Age for Required Minimum Distributions. The age requirement to begin minimum distributions from retirement accounts is increased from age 70½ to age 72.
  • Maximum Age for IRA Contributions. The maximum age for traditional IRA contributions is repealed. You can now continue to contribute to retirement accounts after age 70½, as long as you are still receiving compensation for work. 
  • Expansion of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans. Employers may now automatically enroll employees, increase contributions to up to 15% (up from 10% max), and permit eligible long-term part-time employees to participate in the plan. Small business owners also now have the opportunity to participate in a multiple employer plan (MEP), where unrelated employers join together to offer retirement plan savings opportunities to their small business employees. 
  • Expansion of Section 529 Education Savings Plans. Tax-free distributions of up to $10,000 from Section 529 plans can now be applied for qualified student loan repayment (for the 529 plan beneficiary or a sibling of the 529 plan beneficiary). In addition, Section 529 plan funds can be used for costs associated with certain apprenticeship programs. 
  • Qualified Charitable Deduction Exclusion. The qualified charitable distribution exclusion of $100,000 is reduced by the aggregate amount of deductions allowed for traditional IRA contributions made after age 70½.
  • Child Birth or Adoption Withdrawals. A new exception to the 10% early withdrawal tax is created for qualified distributions up to $5,000 from retirement accounts to cover costs for a birth or adoption.

What Should You Do?

Retirement accounts continue to represent a significant portion of our clients’ assets which may be transferred to succeeding generations. We encourage you to contact your DeWitt advisor to review your estate plan in light of the changes under the SECURE Act, especially if your current plan uses a trust to pass retirement account assets to succeeding generations. If you are a small business owner, contact your DeWitt advisor to provide guidance on the impact of the SECURE Act and planning opportunities available to your business.

About the Author

Mary Alice Fleming is an attorney practicing out of our Minneapolis office. She is a member of the Estate ​Planning practice group. Contact Alice by email or by phone at (612) 305-1413.

Our Locations

Greater Milwaukee - Get Directions

Green Bay - Get Directions

Madison - Get Directions

Minneapolis -Get Directions



Get to know us

DeWitt LLP is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has more than 130 attorneys practicing in Madison, Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.


We are an active and proud member of Lexwork International, an association of mid-sized independent law firms in major cities located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia and an active member of SCG Legal, an association of more than 140 independent law firms serving businesses in all 50 state capitals and major commercial centers around the world.


Super Lawyers 2021
Best Lawyers 2013 – 2021
Compass Award 2012
Top 100 Lawyers: National Trial Lawyers Association


While we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an “engagement letter”). You will not be a client of the firm until you receive such an engagement letter.

The best way for you to initiate a possible representation is to call DeWitt LLP at 608-255-8891. We will make every effort to put you in touch with a lawyer suited to handle your matter. When you receive an engagement letter from one of our lawyers, you will be our client and we may exchange information freely.

Please click the “OK” button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.