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Jewish World Review Oct. 1, 1999 /21 Tishrei, 5760

Bruce Williams

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Insurance: Not much
one person can do -- DEAR BRUCE: I recently took a new position. I was told that I would be included in the health plan after a probationary period of 90 days. At the end of the 90 days, I applied with my immediate superior, and you can imagine how upset I became when I was told that there was a screw-up. New employees are to be enrolled after 60 days. Now they want me to wait another six months. I am willing to take a chance for a couple of months but I certainly do not want to go uninsured for that long. My employer said that they are doing everything they can with the insurance company. She then confided in me that all she had to do was to lie and say that I was a "new hire," and there would not be a problem. But now that she has sent my name in, she has to get the insurance company to change their point of view. Why do they take this position, and what can I do? -- R.D., via e-mail

DEAR R.D.: There is little that you can do as an individual, but your employer can put enough pressure on the insurance company to make an exception. Insurance companies are reluctant to take on employees who have been on the payroll for a while. Experience has shown them that these are the people that very often have pre-existing medical problems that would be difficult to prove. Once they get on the policy, they will take advantage of it. On the other hand, the insurance company should have made it very clear to your employer that a 90-day period is not appropriate. Most companies require this probationary period because they have the type of business where employees come and go. To get one permanent employee they will have to hire six. The paperwork to provide insurance for those people would be horrendous. Hopefully, your insurance company will make an exception.

DEAR BRUCE: My dad died leaving a very specific will, which has been probated in our home state of Tennessee. You can imagine how surprised we were to find out that because he had a summer home in the Carolinas and a winter retreat in Florida, we had to probate his will in both of the other states. Since we now have the same circumstance, is there some way we can avoid having to go through the same procedure when we pass on? -- J.J., via e-mail

DEAR J.J.: This is a case where you should consider seeing a competent trust attorney. If the property is held in your own name in more than one state, the will must be probated under the rules of that state. The most common situation, similar to yours, is vacation property. This often comes as a great shock for people who own real estate in more than one state. I believe that if you contact a lawyer you will find that there are ways to put these properties inside a trust that obviates the need to probate.

DEAR BRUCE: We moved into a somewhat upscale housing area which has covenants and deed restrictions. We were well aware that these existed, but frankly, we made no effort to get into this too deeply. We have always had a boat, which we keep on a trailer with a cover over it, and it has never presented a problem. We use the boat every weekend, and since we are not on waterfront property, we require the boat to be kept on the trailer. The day after we moved in we put the trailer beside the house. Shortly thereafter, we received a very friendly but pointed visit by someone from the deed restriction committee pointing out that we were not allowed to store boats or trailers on our property. The deed restriction representative said that they would take immediate action against me as boats, trailers and motor homes are expressly prohibited. We think that this is ridiculous and we feel "hoodwinked"! How do we get this situation to change? -- M.R. Wellesley, Mass.

DEAR M.R.: I can't imagine why you feel that you have been "hoodwinked." The documents were there for your perusal, and if you were represented by council it would be the duty of your lawyer to make you fully aware of the restrictions that you "voluntarily" accepted by buying the property. In most situations, the only way that you can get that prohibition put aside is to have every property owner in the subdivision waive that requirement -- a virtual impossibility. The best thing for you to do is to find a place off-property to store your boat, or perhaps leave your boat at a marina. I recognize that this is going to entail an additional expense, but that's the whole purpose of deed restrictions to prohibit what many would call undesirable uses.

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).


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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