1. Not getting professional advice. The complexity of the rules governing IRA distribution and beneficiary designations is incredible. Especially where substantial amounts of money are involved, don't try to "do-it-yourself." Who to name as beneficiary? When to take distributions? How much to take out? Should you use a trust? Is it best to name your spouse? These are complicated issues. Lawyers, accountants, and other financial professionals spend hours learning the complex rules that govern these areas. Don't try this at home.
If your spouse or loved one has passed away without updating his or her plan and you find yourself now the trustee or beneficiary of a trust that is not needed, there are ways that you may terminate the trust and end the costs and hassles of trust administration.
Teddy Roosevelt used to be called the Trust Buster because he forced the great railroad combination in the Northwest to break apart. He was the avowed foe of all sorts of trusts and monopolies.
If your annuity is in an IRA you must begin withdrawing the minimum required distribution at age 70-1/2 regardless of any surrender charge that may be imposed on the withdrawals.