Jewish World Review Sept. 28, 2000 / 28 Elul, 5760
Protection by Medicaid and Medicare
DEAR BRUCE: I am a widow near 80 years of age. I only have a little over $2,000 in cash, I don't own anything, and I live with one of my children. If something should happen to me I'm hoping that my children will not be responsible for paying the bills. I have enough life insurance to cover burial and final expenses. Please answer soon. -- M.J.W.
DEAR M.J.W.: Not to worry. Unless your children were to sign as responsible individuals in the event of hospitalization, your Medicare and possibly Medicaid benefits would take care of your expenses. Given your very small assets, you should be eligible for any and all public aid.
DEAR BRUCE: I have a note on a house in the town that I live in. The party that lives there is making their monthly payments on time, but they have not paid last year's property taxes. I want to know if that is a reason for me to foreclose (which I really do not want to do). -- L.K., Paradise, Calif.
DEAR L.K.: The first thing that you want to do is to be certain that the taxes are paid. Depending upon the venue, an in rem foreclosure could wipe out your interest in a heartbeat. You cannot allow those back taxes to go unpaid.
If your note with the buyer contains the standard provisions, then the non-payment of taxes can be considered default and you could foreclose. However, as you point out, you don't wish to do so. Your best bet would be to go see the individuals. Maybe they don't realize that this is their responsibility. You might want to increase their note payment to include the taxes; then you would be able to pay the taxes on a timely basis. But by all means, paying the taxes is something you must address immediately.
DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I applied for a mortgage, and we paid $435 for the appraisal and credit report. Three days before the closing, the mortgage company informed us that we needed a road maintenance agreement on the private road, but the other property owners would not agree to this. We had to pay for the attorney that we used for the sales contract, title search and the survey, which was $400.
If the bank had notified us about the road in a timely manner, we would have not ordered the survey. Also we did not expect the appraisal and credit report fees to be non-refundable. This has left us with a sour taste and $1,000 poorer. - Reader, via e-mail
DEAR READER: Welcome to the real world. In all likelihood, they did you a favor -- living on a private road without an agreement with the other people can be nothing but an ongoing headache.
All of the other expenses, unhappily, are yours. I realize that a number of those expenses would not have been undertaken if they had let you know about their conditions earlier, but nonetheless, this is a hazard one undertakes when buying.
You have a $1,000 worth of value in not buying into a very bad
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).
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