After writing the article on required minimum distributions, I checked with some popular retirement brokerages and saw that many of them handle required minimum distributions quite gracefully.
At Vanguard, they will:
* Calculate your RMD. Each January, we’ll notify you by mail of the amount you must distribute by year-end.
* Distribute your RMD, if you wish. We can automatically transfer your money to a Vanguard® nonretirement account or deposit it at your bank.
* Keep you posted. You’ll receive statements by mail, and you can track your progress online at any time.
Fidelity (a PDF about their “Personal Withdrawal Service”) also offers similar services but it’s a little harder to get at since it’s written into a PDF document and not with high level bullet points like Vanguard’s.
RMDs are a very well understood item in retirement when it comes to IRAs so if your current brokerage doesn’t handle it, I’d recommend finding another one.