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Jewish World Review Jan. 13, 2000 /6 Shevat, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Who gets the house? -- DEAR BRUCE: Some years ago my husband insisted on buying our new home in his name alone. I disagreed, and we both signed all of the documents. Later I found out that during that time he was secretly planning on divorcing me. Would I have lost my half of the house had I not signed? -- T.A., Portage, Mich.

DEAR T.A.: If the house was acquired during the marriage and there was no prenuptial agreement or any other document to the contrary, you would have received a portion of the home. There are two different terms, which mean very different things: "equal" distribution, which is self explanatory, and "equitable" distribution, which means that the courts would have decided how much you were entitled to and how much your husband was entitled to. Any time a husband or wife jumps in with the idea to buy a home in his or her name alone, I would get very, very nervous.

DEAR BRUCE: My wife has been convinced by three different professionals that Roth IRAs are no good. Could you comment? -- H.L., Lubbock, Texas

DEAR H.L.: You've got to be kidding! For someone of your age (28), Roth IRAs are an extraordinarily good deal. I suspect that the professionals you talked to are professional insurance salesmen. While I have no problem with salespeople pushing their product, to tell anyone that Roth IRAs are no good is a serious disservice and certainly an indicator of a lack of professional standards. On that basis, I would disqualify those individuals for any type of investment information.

DEAR BRUCE: I live in a large apartment complex. Inexplicably, the management allows you to have not just one dog, but multiple dogs in one unit. Very close to my apartment are two neighbors, one with two dogs and the other with three. I have repeatedly told the management that I work at night and sleep in the daytime, and I can't sleep with dogs yapping. I went so far as to go to one of my neighbors who told me that she couldn't hear me identify myself at the door because the dogs were making too much noise. Can you believe that? I intend to move out at the end of the month, but they say that if I don't give them notice, they will sue me. What do you think? -- R.T., Orlando, Florida

DEAR R.T.: Any landlord who allows more than one pet to a household is just waiting to get his wrist slapped. The landlord has an obligation to provide you with a safe and pleasant environment. In my opinion, they have obviated any lease obligations or notification obligations that you would have had under ordinary conditions. If it means going to small claims court to recover your security, so be it.

Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).


01/11/00: It all depends on size of estate
01/06/00: Check references before hiring an advisor
01/04/00: Savings bonds a bad investment
12/31/99: Out of state ain't that great
12/29/99: Warranty rip-offs
12/27/99: Checking up on investment handlers
12/23/99: Options good only when company's strong
12/20/99: Capital gains tax sometimes best
12/17/99: Don't give up your nest egg
12/15/99: Small-claims court no panacea
12/13/99: Termite company not liable for termites?
12/10/99: Services provided must be paid for
12/06/99: How do we minimize house-sale gain?
12/06/99: Maximize your tax shelter!
12/02/99: My neighbor won't maintain even a modicum of civility
12/01/99: Long-distance rentals a bad idea
11/29/99: Mortgage strategy A-OK
11/18/99: Students can work and learn
11/16/99: Value is what will sell
11/11/99: Y2K: No big deal for real estate
11/08/99: Real life is tough luck
11/03/99: The right time to cash a savings bond
11/01/99: Slow road for savings accounts
10/29/99: What do you want from insurance?
10/27/99: You have a right to see your tax forms!
10/25/99: Why own a house at 65?
10/22/99: Online fine, but CDs?
10/20/99: Love, honor -- and separate credit
10/18/99: Find the value of your stocks
10/15/99: Property lien prevents trade
10/13/99: Clear up debt, only then tie the knot
10/11/99: If it ain't broke...
10/04/99: Should I stick with the company IRA?
10/04/99: Get a financial education!
10/01/99: Insurance: Not much one person can do
09/30/99: Lost tickets are lost cash
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner
09/27/99: Adult children should help out
09/24/99: Tips for first-time home buyers
09/21/99: Use the rule of 72s!
09/17/99: Legal strategy can be a pain
09/15/99: Teen drivers drive up insurance
09/13/99: Always use an attorney!
09/10/99: Whose taxes are they, anyway?
09/08/99: How do I roll over my 401(k)?
09/03/99: How can I work out my IRS payments?
09/01/99: When your company can't pay you
08/30/99: Beware of shady viatical investments
08/26/99: Landlords vary on security deposits
08/25/99: Educational IRAs must be spent on education
08/23/99: Finding out the value of old stocks
08/20/99: How to get an FHA refund
08/19/99: 100 percent financing is a scam
08/16/99: Will I have to pay a capital gains tax?
08/16/99: Thinking about PMI
08/13/99: Short-term mutual funds a-OK
08/11/99: It's your job to shop around
08/10/99: Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted
08/09/99: 'Pre-approved' doesn't mean a thing
08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
08/04/99: Bank IRA the lowest-risk option
08/03/99: Reverse mortgages good for the elderly
08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
07/28/99: Get a lawyer -- it's worth it!
07/27/99: If it ain't broke...

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