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SECURE ACT

The Secure Act – Effective 1/1/2020

Summary of Changes Brought About by the Secure Act

The “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” Act (the SECURE Act) was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019 and became effective January 1, 2020. The following is a brief summary of some of the Act’s provisions.

Repeal of the Maximum Age for Traditional IRA Contributions

Before 2020, traditional IRA contributions were not allowed once the individual attained age 70½. Starting in 2020, the new rules allow an individual of any age to make contributions to a traditional IRA, as long as the individual has compensation, which generally means earned income from wages or self-employment.

Required Minimum Distribution Age Raised From 70½ to 72

Before 2020, retirement plan participants and IRA owners were generally required to begin taking required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from their plan by April 1 of the year following the year they reached age 70½. The age 70½ requirement was first applied in the retirement plan context in the early 1960s and, until recently, had not been adjusted to account for increases in life expectancy.

For distributions required to be made after Dec. 31, 2019, for individuals who attain age 70½ after that date, the age at which individuals must begin taking distributions from their retirement plan or IRA is increased from 70½ to 72.

Elimination of Stretch IRA Provisions for Inherited IRAs

For deaths of plan participants or IRA owners occurring before 2020, beneficiaries (both spousal and non-spousal) of inherited IRAs were generally allowed to stretch out the tax-deferral advantages of the plan or IRA by taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) over the beneficiary’s life or life expectancy (in the IRA context, this is sometimes referred to as a “stretch IRA”).

However, for deaths of plan participants or IRA owners on or after January 1, 2020, inherited IRAs are required to be completely distributed within 10 years following the death of the original account owner, with a few limited exceptions. As a result of this change, the “stretching” strategy is no longer allowed.

Exceptions to the 10-year rule are permitted for distributions to: (1) the surviving spouse of the plan participant or IRA owner; (2) a child of the plan participant or IRA owner who has not reached majority; (3) a chronically ill individual; and (4) any other individual who is not more than ten years younger than the plan participant or IRA owner. Those beneficiaries who qualify under these exceptions may generally still take their RMDs over their life expectancy (as permitted under the rules in effect for deaths occurring prior to 2020).

In view of this significant change to the RMDs for inherited IRAs, estate plans put in place prior to January 1, 2020 may need to be revisited.



  • Ian T. Hammett, Of Counsel with the Firm, has joined the UrbanPromise Trenton Board of Trustees and will serve as a member of the Development Committee.

    UrbanPromise Trenton is a non-profit, “for promise” organization providing free After School drop-in and Summer Camp programs to the youth of Trenton. UrbanPromise Trenton equips participants with the skills necessary for academic achievement, spiritual growth, life management, and Christian leadership. UrbanPromise Trenton also employs Trenton teens in their StreetLeader program where teens are mentors and leaders to the younger children in the programs.
    Mr. Hammett joined Mason Griffin & Pierson P.C. in 2018 and practices in the field of Trusts and Estates; Real Estate; Business Law; and Chancery Court Practice.
    To learn more about UrbanPromise Trenton, please visit www.urbanpromisetrenton.org.








  • Anthony Todaro named Planning Board Attorney:

    We are pleased to announce that firm attorney Anthony R. Todaro has been appointed as Planning Board attorney in the Borough of High Bridge (Hunterdon County).








  • Anthony Todaro named Zoning Board Attorney:

    We are pleased to announce that firm attorney Anthony R. Todaro has been appointed as Zoning Board attorney in Hamilton Township (Mercer County).





  • Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, has been named a Trustee of the Hunterdon Land Trust.

    The mission of the Hunterdon Land Trust is to preserve the integrity of the rural landscapes in the Hunterdon County region by protecting/enhancing natural resources and the cultural landscape of the historic Dvoor Farm for public enjoyment and education. The Land Trust has helped protect more than 10,280 acres of farmland and open space and owns and manages nature preserves throughout Hunterdon County.

    To learn more about HLT, visit:
    www.hunterdonlandtrust.org




  • Cecil completes NJILGA 2020 YEAR-END LAW REVIEW

    Trishka Waterbury Cecil, Of Counsel with the Firm, has completed her annual Year-End Law Review for 2020 (a/k/a the “Big Book”) which is now available for members on the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (NJILGA) website: https://www.njilga.org/. At a webinar presented on November 19, 2020 at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Virtual Conference, Trishka (NJILGA Past President) and Steve Goodell (Treasurer), highlighted and discussed selected local government cases from the past year and entertained questions and comments from attendees.





  • Dragan Appointment

    Sharon Dragan, a Director with the Firm, has recently been elected to serve as Secretary for the NJ Institute of Local Government Attorneys in 2021. For more information about the NJILGA, see
    https://www.njilga.org/about-us/who-are-we.html.




  • COVID-19
    Employment & Financial Update (10/02/2020)

    Click Link Here to read important information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.