Smart Money: You must draw on 401(k) after 70


DEAR BRUCE >> I understood from a relative that as long as I am still working, I'm not obliged to take a percentage of my 401(k) every year. I am 74 years old and still work. I mentioned this to a colleague, and they informed me that nowhere in the IRS guidelines does it state that. Am I obliged to take the percentage deduction from my 401(k), or may I leave it intact?

— M.D.

DEAR M.D. >> I don't know where this information is coming from, but it is not accurate. You're 74 and still working. That's terrific, but you were required to start drawing on your 401(k) at 70 1/2. There's no way you can leave it intact.

DEAR BRUCE >> On my 2015 taxes, my income was $37,291. My expenses were minimal except for caregivers. I am disabled and need a daily caregiver. My expense for having a caregiver was around $29,000. My refund (federal) was $2,000. My refund from the state was zero. As you can readily see, there is not much left over for mortgage, insurance on my condo, cars, food, etc. I refinanced the house to cover the credit card expenses. How can I better structure my taxes to realize a greater dollar refund?

— H.J.

DEAR H.J. >> You didn't indicate what your income was from, but it's considerable as I assume that you're working at home with a disability. That having been said, given your expenses for the caregivers, I can't imagine that you would have any taxes to pay! Unfortunately, it still doesn't leave you with enough to live on with the caregiver expenses.

There must be some type of agency in your community or county that will help you with this. If you're unable to find such a person, then I would suggest that you sit down and have an attorney guide you.

DEAR BRUCE >> Our father died, leaving us $500,000 in a trust. I tried to get information about the trust's dwindling funds. I went to court and lost. The judge gave the administration of the trust to a single local attorney. We have been enjoined from contacting this attorney. He is draining the trust's money rather than hiring a real estate agent to sell our father's $499,000 home, which is deteriorating fast. Short of hiring a real estate attorney, where do we go from here?

— S.S.

DEAR S.S. >> Unhappily, you've done what you can, and so far, you have failed. I know it's a tough proposition, but I would swallow hard and get that attorney hired.

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