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Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2000 / 5 Elul, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Consumer Reports


Pools can soak you


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- DEAR BRUCE: We have lived in northern New Jersey for several years. My husband is a health nut and wants to install a swimming pool in our backyard, where there is ample room. The cost of the pool will exceed $40,000. He claims that besides the enjoyment of this backyard addition, it will add to the value of our home when we decide to sell it.

Several of my friends have told me that not only does it not add value to the home, but sometimes it can detract from the value. This is a very large amount of money. Can you tell me who is correct? If we are going to be getting our money back, I guess I could go along, but I would certainly hate to have spent this money and then have to move and lose money on the deal. -- C.T. Passaic, N.J.

DEAR C.T.: Your friends' observations frequently are the case. Not only is a pool not an asset, but there are a great many folks who don't want the responsibility of a pool, particularly in a northern climate. In southern areas, such as Florida and Arizona, almost every home has a pool, which can be used year-round. In your part of the world, at the very best, you can use a pool four or five months a year.

Many people would prefer not to have that responsibility. If you enjoy having the pool, you will get your money's worth, I would assume. But don't ever count on recovering that investment when the house goes on the market.

DEAR BRUCE: I know you like old cars. My dad passed away a few months ago, and one of the assets of his estate is a 1941 Cadillac convertible. It had been restored very nicely, although I'm not sure if it was professionally done. It's a great-looking car, but neither my brother or I have any interest in old cars. At least not this old. Can you tell us how we might be able to sell it and get the appropriate price? -- L.W., Akron, Ohio

DEAR L.W.: You might want to go and take a look at Hemmings Motor News. It is published in Bennington, Vt. This month's edition, August 2000, shows several 1941 Cadillacs for sale. They can range from $2,500 to as much as $65,000, depending upon the condition. Hemmings is the bible of the older used car business, and if there's any place that you can sell the car, that will be the place.

Another very good publication is Deals On Wheels, which is published in Sioux Falls, S.D. The difference is that in Deals On Wheels, all of the cars are shown with a picture. Either one will get you buyer prospects all over the nation.

DEAR BRUCE: My parents are along in years, both in their early 80s. While they are going downhill physically, they are mentally sharp as a tack. My brother and I were called over to the house the other day, and they told us what they were doing. They were putting all of their assets in either my brother's name and their name, or my name and their name. The house will be in my brother's name and my name. This way, they figure, when they die there will be no problems.

They are really scared about probate. I tried to reassure them that this is not such a big deal because their estate isn't very complicated, some securities, savings and the house. Can you suggest something to them that will assure them that they won't have this probate specter. I have heard you say many times that it's not a good idea to leave undivided interests to heirs, and I agree with your thoughts on that matter. What can we suggest to them? -- C.A., via e-mail

DEAR C.A.: Why not have a lawyer discuss this with your parents and set up a living trust? All of the assets are put inside the trust, and they have complete control over them as long as they are alive. When they pass away, the trust goes on to you two to be shared equally.

I would also stipulate that real property should be sold; that way there is no haggling over who gets the property and who doesn't get it.

That's the simplest way to do it. This does not, however, obviate the necessity for a will -- a simple reciprocal will, and then leaving the balance to you and your brother. If nothing else, this ought to make your parents feel better. At this time in their life, this is very important.



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).

Up

08/28/00: When the insurance company has an 'out'
08/25/00: When to buy a home
08/24/00: More 'interest' to live on
08/22/00: Paying for private school
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08/16/00: IRAs for people with pensions
08/15/00: She doesn't deserve a break
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Yes, a contract means something
08/10/00: Her shopping will ruin us
08/09/00: A $1,500 car ... for $3,000
08/04/00: Time to take on the airlines
08/02/00: How can I retire at 62?
08/01/00: Cash in your savings bonds
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
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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
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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!
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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
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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)?
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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