Jewish World Review Jan. 11, 2000 /4 Shevat, 5760
It all depends on size of estate
DEAR BRUCE: Can you explain what trust funds are? I have property and some CDs. I don't expect to die for some time, but when I do I would like my estate to go to my children. All of my friends say that the government will take a big piece of the cheese. How do we avoid paying any taxes to Uncle Sam? -- D.B., Nashua, N.H.
DEAR D.B.: You left out some pretty important information. How much is your estate (CDs, home, etc.) worth? If it is under $650,000 there will be no federal tax. If it exceeds that number substantially, rather then getting into what a trust fund is, you should go see a good estate-planning attorney. I am betting that your estate is less than the current exemption of $650,000. If this is true, you may have state taxes to worry about, but you will have no federal taxes to concern yourself with.
DEAR BRUCE: I am 28 years old and married with one child. I am thinking of buying my first home for $115,000. I have been pre-qualified but would like to know the best way to finance. Where do I start? -- J.W., via e-mail
DEAR J.W.: There is a contradiction here: If you were pre-qualified, that means that you have already applied to a lending institution and they say they will lend you whatever dollars you have applied for. You might want to go down to the library and take a look at my book, "House Smart." Your letter indicates that you want a "road map," and I think that "House Smart" can provide that for you.
DEAR BRUCE: Is it a common practice for insurance companies to collect from an offender for damage to a customer's automobile when the offender is not guilty? My son was hit with a judgment because he failed to go to court, but he was never notified. The court refuses another hearing. -- M.S., Cincinnati
DEAR M.S.: It's most likely that your son was notified and either neglected to follow through or for whatever reason did not go to the hearing, and he lost by default. What the company is doing is called subrogating. They have paid out money on their client's behalf and now they want to get it back from your son. Apparently, the court agrees with the insurance company. If your son's automobile was insured, he should have notified the insurance company for the liability coverage. If he was driving uninsured, then he is on the hook for the whole
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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