Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review July 28, 1999 /15 Av 5759

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Tony Snow
Michael Barone
Mort Kondracke
Kathleen Parker
Dr. Laura
Michael Kelly
Bob Greene
Michelle Malkin
Paul Greenberg
David Limbaugh
David Corn
Marianne Jennings
Sam Schulman
Philip Weiss
Mort Zuckerman
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Chris Matthews
Nat Hentoff
Larry Elder
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Don Feder
Linda Chavez
Mona Charen
Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams
Ben Wattenberg
Bruce Williams
Dr. Peter Gott
Dian Vujovich
Ed Blonz
Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard


Get a lawyer -- it's worth it! -- DEAR BRUCE: It's been nearly four years since I purchased the condo which was to have been my permanent home for the rest of my life. I am now 46 years of age, and have made the determination, for a variety of reasons, to put the condo on the market. The property value has gone up between 12 and 15 percent. I'm told that this is a hot property. I have no attorney, and I can't afford one. This scares me. I earn slightly more than $40,000 a year. -- A.H. Ventura County, Calif.

DEAR A.H.: You say you can't afford an attorney, but perhaps you can't afford not to have one. I am sure you could make an arrangement with an attorney to represent you on the selling side, to be paid when and only when the property is transferred. I am assuming that there will be a surplus, given the fact the property values are increasing. There is no reason to be scared. It is a straightforward proposition. Before you sign anything, show it to your attorney. He or she can guide you through this in a relatively effortless way.

DEAR BRUCE: I expect to inherit from my grandmother a substantial amount of cash and a home worth $140,000. I am married and live in California, a community-property state. Is my husband entitled to any part of this inheritance? Since I am ill, I expect to have a will prepared which leaves the home and the money to my son. -- D.S. Ventura, Calif.

DEAR D.S.: I would get that will done as quickly as I could, and at the same time pose this question to your attorney. Generally speaking, assets acquired during the marriage are community property. There may be a way to transfer this during your lifetime to your son. Don't take a step in any direction without proper guidance. Given the fact that you are ill, the first thing I would do is to get that will prepared in a way that best serves your interests.

DEAR BRUCE: I have just returned to the United States after working several years overseas. During that period, I saved more than $225,000. It is invested very conservatively, earning five to 7.5 percent. I am 35 years old, married, work part-time with an airline and have no retirement plan. My salary barely covers our rent and expenses, but my wife is employed. She saves $500 a month from her salary. My question is, now that I am back, what do I do with the money? There are so many possibilities. I should probably take more risks, but I am afraid that I might lose. -- P.H., Las Vegas

DEAR P.H.: I am in agreement that you should take more risks, but if you are totally uncomfortable with that, then by all means don't do so. You mentioned that you have no retirement plan. It would seem to me that you and your wife should put $4,000 a year into a Roth IRA. Then, after you have done so, you must make a decision as to how aggressively the rest of your money is to be invested. At your age, it seems to me that you are in a position to be able to take some risk. If risk is something that you simply can't handle emotionally, then stay with your safe and relatively low return.

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).


07/27/99: If it ain't broke...

©1999, NEA