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Law Offices of Ronald W. Rutz
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June 2, 1999: Handicap Parking Rights; Converting to a Roth IRA

Q: I need my handicap parking rights but I heard that a recently passed Colorado law might take them away from me.

A: As of July 1, 1999, if in fact you are disabled, then you have nothing to fear. But if you are not, or if someone uses your vehicle and the use is not a "direct benefit" to you, then you might have your handicapped tag revoked or at least suspended. The non-handicapped user could be subject to civil and criminal penalties, as can you if you improperly obtained a handicapped placard in the first place.

It is really too early to know what kind of impact this law will have but now is the time to be sure that your handicapped parking privileges are properly used.

Q: I made a mistake when I converted to a Roth IRA because my adjusted gross income exceeded $100,000 and also because my wife and I file separate returns. But I was not able to switch back before April 15th. Has there been an extension to switch?

A: As previously mentioned in a Voice column, the Roth IRAs became more and more complicated as the IRS issued its rules and regulations. Many people not entitled to switch to the Roth IRA only discovered their ineligibility in 1999 after initially meeting the requirements to switch in 1998. The IRS allowed a switch back from the IRA without penalties if the reversal was accomplished by April 15, 1999, a deadline many could not make.

After further research of its own rules and regulations, the IRS now determines that the April 15th deadline for switching back was in error. Thus, you can undo your Roth IRAs up to October 15, 1999. Good luck!

As a side note, there have not been nearly as many Roth IRAs either set up or converted into as both Congress and the IRS had projected, much to the surprise of most experts. The reasons for this will be explored in a future column.

Q: Do I have to leave my children anything?

A: You can disinherit anyone except for a spouse. And if a proper nuptial agreement is in place to eliminate the elective share, even a spouse can be disinherited. You must have the minimum mental capacity to do a Will and not be operating under a mistaken fact or undue influence of another. But after all, it is your property to do with as you see fit. Thus you do not have to remember even your children in your Will.

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