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Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 1999 /8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Find the value of your stocks -- DEAR BRUCE: Thirty years ago, I purchased stock in two different companies. As of today I am uncertain as to the worth of these stocks, or if the companies even exist. I would appreciate any advice you could give me on how to obtain information regarding the stocks I own. -- E.T.

DEAR E.T.: To track down the value, if any, of stock certificates, you can contact the Securities and Exchange Commission at (800) SEC-0330, or visit their Web site at

DEAR BRUCE: I am a retired farmer, and I have 120 acres of Iowa farmland which I rent for $10,000 net after taxes. My other income is $722 a month from Social Security. If I sell the land for $100,000, I would be left with $60,000 after paying the capital gains tax. How can I invest the $100,000 without too much risk so that I get a higher return? -- J.K., Denver, Iowa

DEAR J.K.: I don't know where your $40,000 tax figure comes from. The home is very likely your homestead, which means there is no tax on that. The tax on the acreage would be, at most, capital gains. I don't think your taxes are going to be that high. If you are going to sell the acreage for $100,000, that means you are currently earning 10 percent with almost no risk. It would seem to me that this would probably be the best way to keep it. Yes, you could earn a higher rate of return with a degree of risk, but in this instance, I don't think it's too advisable.

DEAR BRUCE: Please tell me, what is a quitclaim? What are its benefits? If I were to quitclaim my property to my kids, when do I pay the taxes? Do I pay when my kids pay? -- A Reader

DEAR READER: A quitclaim simply means that you give up all rights to a piece of real property. You do not give up responsibilities, however. If there is a mortgage and another party fails to pay, they can come after you, even though you have no rights to the property. The same holds true for the taxes -- you are responsible if the other party fails to pay them. The main benefit of a quitclaim is that it is quick and dirty.

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).


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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