IRAs and other retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans often constitute a substantial part of the assets in an estate. Professional tax advice for the heir(s) is often necessary in dealing with these accounts. If the decedent was required to take the minimum distribution from his or her IRA or other retirement account in the year of death but did not take such a distribution, it must be made to the beneficiaries before the end of the year. A surviving spouse may be treat an inherited IRA as his or her own IRA and, at his or her option, need not take required minimum distributions (RMDs) until age 70 and ½.