Jewish World Review Oct. 27, 2000 / 28 Tishrei, 5761
Reader takes on Bruce
DEAR BRUCE: I read your Sunday column in the Knoxville News Sentinel and could not believe what I was reading when you compared a living trust with a simple will. For once the attorney got it right, and you are claiming he should be disbarred. Maybe an education in trusts would allow you to be a more informed advisor, but based on what I read, you should be disallowed to write about such topics when it is very evident that you don't have a clue about this subject.
Living trusts, if done properly, give individuals far more control than a simple will. Yes, the cost factors are higher on the front end, but when everything is considered, it is a much better deal than a simple will. Especially when you are talking about the consideration of the guardianship of children or the disability or incapacitation of a spouse. I think it would be appropriate to check the facts before making such ludicrous statements. -- J.D., via e-mail
DEAR J.D.: The original letter was written by a young couple. Relatively few young couples have enough assets to make it worth setting up a living trust. Any informed individual would know that even if you do have a living trust, as I do, you still will require a pour-over will to put those things that you have acquired outside the trust, perhaps after the trust, into the trust at the time of your demise.
I have never talked to a responsible attorney who says a will should not be in place. In the unlikely event that there is no need for the will, it can simply be filed and not probated. If there is a need for one after the fact, it's too late to plug up that hole. I stand by everything that I said in the aforementioned article.
DEAR BRUCE: The house next door to me is for sale. It is smaller than my home, which is probably worth about $50,000 more. I could buy this house now for about $80,000 and rent it out for about $700 a month. I realize that this is not a particularly good return, but I am a little concerned if the house is purchased by someone else for a rental about what kind of neighbors I would have. Does it make any sense to protect myself by purchasing this house? -- N.P., Boston, Mass.
DEAR N.P.: You bet your life it does. You are correct in your observation; it would not be a particularly viable rental property, but if you are in a position to absorb a small loss each month or at best break even, protecting yourself in this fashion makes a great deal of sense.
DEAR BRUCE: I am 24 years old, and my wife is constantly nagging me to open Roth IRAs for both of us. She said that you have said that at our age it is the wisest thing that we can do. That may well be true, but if we open these IRAs, our vacation this year goes right down the sewer. I work pretty hard and think that I am entitled to a decent vacation. What do you say to that, wise guy? -- L.C., via e-mail
DEAR L.C.: I would say that you are fortunate to have a wife that is as intelligent as yours is. Yes, it requires sacrifice for you to open a Roth right now, but at your age, with the miracle of compounding, when you guys are ready to retire you will be very, very thankful that you have been prudent. I understand that you want and are entitled to do things today, but if it is a question of moderation, then why not make a compromise here? You can go out and get yourself a weekend job for a few months, and this money will be used for vacations only, and your regular money will be invested toward the future. It seems to me that if you want the vacation enough, and you probably do, you should be willing to sacrifice a little bit on the weekends to make 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).
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10/03/00: Not paying taxes on interest from house sale
09/28/00: Protection by Medicaid and Medicare
09/27/00: Refinancing home without alerting crooks
09/26/00: Base investments on trust
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09/11/00: Must I pay for my gifted child's college tuition?
09/08/00: We got bitten on purchase of dog
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08/28/00: When the insurance company has an 'out'
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08/22/00: Paying for private school
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08/11/00: Her shopping will ruin us
Yes, a contract means something
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08/04/00: Time to take on the airlines
08/02/00: How can I retire at 62?
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07/28/00: Hold onto a mortgage under 7 percent
07/26/00: I want my partner to buy me out
07/25/00: Negotiate with your neighbor
07/21/00: How can I finally start saving soundly?
07/20/00: Where's my prize?
07/18/00: Getting out of an upside-down loan
07/13/00: Death is no escape
07/12/00: Multiplying dollars
07/10/00: Making sense of retirement investing
07/07/00: 'Bankruptcy does follow us around'
07/06/00: In which state should I file my income tax?
07/03/00: When to diversify assets
06/30/00: I'm buying my dad's house
06/29/00: How social security seniors should invest
06/27/00: Waiting before re-establishing credit
06/21/00: Insuring an older car
06/19/00: Take the money and run!
06/16/00: Utility company incursion
06/15/00: Insurance settlement is no bargain
06/13/00: A straightforward form of bankruptcy
06/08/00: In the computer's clutches
06/07/00: The trouble with tenants
06/05/00: Do I really need title insurance?
06/01/00: The truth about nursing home insurance
05/30/00: Keep mother-daughter loan simple
05/25/00: CDs for security, not investment
05/24/00: Battling with collection agency
05/22/00: Are callable CDs a waste of time?
05/18/00: Building a college fund
05/16/00: Even death brings no relief
05/15/00: House is 'worth' what's offered
05/12/00: Borrow from Mom and Dad?
05/11/00: Your heirs, your choice
05/09/00: Mutual-fund investigations
05/05/00: Credit cards vs. debit cards
05/04/00: Lawyer are good for something
05/03/00: The binding nature of contracts
05/02/00: You know you are in trouble when ...
05/01/00: Can primary residence be rented out?
04/28/00: A full refund after five years?
04/25/00: Get a homeowner's title policy!
04/24/00: Beware of errors in your favor
04/18/00: $10,000 limit on gifts
04/17/00: Invest or repay student loans?
04/13/00: Beware of Internet auctions
04/11/00: Six percent is a pittance
04/10/00: Married couples should share windfall
04/07/00: How not to blow an inheritance
04/06/00: Get genetic screening for Tay-Sachs
04/05/00: Beating the look-back period
04/04/00: Providing for retirement
04/03/00: Readers disagree on time shares
03/30/00: The road back to good credit
03/29/00: Pre-tax dollars in IRA taxed later
03/27/00: Gambling on business ventures
03/22/00: Old cars as hobby, not investment
03/20/00: Tax on foreign gifts?
03/16/00: How to buy government bonds
03/13/00: Buying treasury instruments
03/09/00: Subcontractors must pay S.S.
03/08/00: Real-estate lawyers are essential
03/07/00: Don't expect compensation for ideas
03/06/00: Too rich for a Roth IRA?
03/01/00: Is time-sharing a scam?
02/29/00: Paying for nursing-home care
02/28/00: Rely on a real-estate lawyer
02/23/00: Keeping child's money safe from divorce
02/16/00: Just how important is a 401(k)?
02/14/00: Shaky partnership buying house
02/11/00: Protection by residential zoning
02/09/00: Benefiting from a reverse mortgage
02/07/00: Ensure your insurability
02/04/00: Absurd community zoning laws
02/02/00: Money or securities?
02/01/00: Can we KO a custodian?
01/31/00: Why sell a home you love?
01/26/00: Everyone needs a will
01/25/00: Will splitting stocks affect rollover?
01/24/00: Should early retirees contribute to SEP?
01/21/00: Strategies for paying off debt
01/20/00: Is 15-percent growth achievable?
01/19/00: Selling a second home
01/18/00: Running from a time-share
01/14/00: Don't be a spendthrift!
01/13/00: Who gets the house?
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)?
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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
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08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
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08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
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