Estate Planning and the SECURE Act: Critical Considerations for Estate Planners and Administrators

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, March 18, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide estate planners and advisers on the SECURE Act's impact on estate planning and administration. The panel will discuss new regulatory and tax rules stemming from the SECURE Act and challenges for retirement benefits, trusts, and distributions. The panel will also provide effective estate and tax planning techniques in light of the new rules.


The SECURE Act contains several provisions that significantly change the planning and administration of estates and trusts. Estate planners, advisers, and attorneys must recognize the impact of the SECURE Act and prepare for IRS interpretations, requirements, and pitfalls to avoid.

The SECURE Act includes substantial changes to how IRAs and qualified plans impact estate planning for retirement benefits. It raised the age for required minimum distributions from age 70½ to age 72, which also applies to qualified plans, and eliminates the age limit for contributions to IRAs. It also eliminates the "stretch" distributions from IRAs and qualified plans with limited exceptions. Under the new law, beneficiaries must withdraw assets from an inherited account within 10 years of the owner's death, requiring careful planning to avoid unintended tax liability.

If a retirement plan participant doesn't want to leave benefits outright to a beneficiary, the participant must designate a trust as the beneficiary. For a trust to qualify as a designated beneficiary, it needs to be a "see-through trust" that is either a "conduit trust" or an "accumulation trust." Under the SECURE Act, there is an acceleration of distributions to beneficiaries and a potential increase in taxes.

Listen as our panel discusses the SECURE Act's key provisions and how it impacts the planning and administration of estates and trusts, as well as offers best practices for attorneys and advisers.



  1. SECURE Act: key provisions and remaining issues
  2. Critical estate planning considerations and challenges
  3. Challenges for trusts: conduit vs. accumulation trusts
  4. Key modifications to consider for estates and trusts
  5. Other key items and best practices for estates and trust administration


The panel will review these and other essential items:

  • What should estate planners know about the SECURE Act?
  • What are the unresolved issues of the SECURE Act for estates and trusts?
  • What are estate and trust planning techniques available in light of the SECURE Act?


Bernard, Daniel
Daniel R. Bernard

Twomey Latham Shea Kelley Dubin & Quartararo

Mr. Bernard is a partner in the firm and member of the Trusts & Estates Department. He focuses his practice on...  |  Read More

Hensley, Judy
Judy M. Hensley

Roberts & Holland

Ms. Hensley concentrates on a wide variety of employee benefits and executive compensation matters in both the...  |  Read More

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