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When I started taking care of my (now 93 year old) uncle back in 2001, I thought it would be a good idea to convert, over time, his traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. I was told it wouldn't be cost effective.

Every year since, the RMD puts him in a higher tax bracket. One year it even made him pay more for his Medicare. The interest, dividends, and capital gains he earns increase the size of his RMD and his taxbill.

I still think that gradually moving his money into a ROTH is the way to go. He will be leaving his IRA to me and I'd prefer to inherit a ROTH IRA. (An inherited ROTH IRA is still tax free, isn't it? And doesn't require minimum distributions?)

Does the 5 year holding period apply to people older than 59 1/2? -- If my uncle starts converting his traditional IRA to a ROTH but dies before 5 years -- will the monies he has converted to a ROTH be converted back to a traditional IRA? and if it is, what becomes of the extra taxes paid due to the earlier conversions -- are they just lost?

If the IRA is not converted (or not completely converted)in my uncle's lifetime, can an inherited traditional IRA be converted to an inherited ROTH IRA?

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