If you own individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and you’re past the magic age of 70½, you may already be thinking about taking your required minimum distribution for 2017.

Which account do you take it from, if you have more than one?

By law, you can take your distribution from any of traditional IRAs. You don’t need to parcel it out among various accounts you may have.

If there are investment or tax reasons why you would prefer to take the entire annual distribution amount from one IRA and leave another undisturbed, you can do that. You may wish to speak to your financial advisor for input into that decision.

You could even take distributions from a particular IRA for non-financial reasons. Suppose you have two children and two IRA accounts. Frank is the beneficiary of Account A and Linda is the beneficiary of Account B. Frank forgot your birthday in 2016 and failed to visit you at Christmas, while Linda called every week and brought thoughtful gifts in person on every special occasion. No reason why you can’t take your entire 2017 distribution from Frank’s IRA.

Whatever your reasons, current distribution rules do not require you to treat your IRAs equally.

CAUTION: Keep in mind that this rule applies only to traditional IRAs. You can’t take the distribution required from your traditional IRA from your Roth IRA. Neither can you apply this rule to 401(k)s, Keogh plans, or 403(b)s. For those plans, you must take a required distribution for any particular plan from the plan itself, not another.

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