The purpose of this article is topresent rules and regulations in effect as of this writing for making distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs in a concixe, organized and coherant format which may serve as a reference resource to all persons concerned with this subject. Be aware that Congress and the IRS have tinkered with these rules for the past twenty-five or more years and will in all likelihood continue to do so. The presentation is mad in three parts: Part 1: contains anoverviewof distribution taxation and details the rules pertaining to required mimimum distributions. Key elements of th Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 affecting retirement and estate planning are presented; Part 2: reviews the issues involved in preserving qualified plan and IRA funds in estate planning situations. Planning considerations are also presented; Part 3: consists of case studies illustrating the results from various distribution options;ie, "running the numbers."