Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 1999 /10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
Love, honor -- and separate credit
DEAR BRUCE: I am marrying a man who owns a home and two cars, and has excellent credit. In my previous marriage four years ago, we filed for bankruptcy. Since then, my credit has been fine, but obviously the bankruptcy still looks bad. What steps or precautions should we take, since we may want to invest in another home in the future? -- Jill, via e-mail
DEAR JILL: If I were in your circumstance, I would keep my finances entirely separate for the time being, assuming that the groom can qualify for a mortgage without taking into account any income you may have. There is no question that a bad credit report on you could muddy the waters. There is no obligation on his part to use you as part of the application process, but then again, any income you have would not be counted as his.
DEAR BRUCE: I was entitled to some money from an estate, and the check was dated December 29, 1998. The check was not mailed until 7 months later. My credit union would not take the check because it was over 6 months old, so I had to have it reissued. My niece got the same amount, but just deposited it into her ATM and got her money at once. Can you explain to me what this is all about? Also, can I get the interest that accumulated from that 7-month period? B.C. E-mail
DEAR B.C.: A check that is over 6 months old is considered "stale." That doesn't mean that it isn't good, but it does mean that, under ordinary circumstances, it will not be honored. If it does slip through the cracks, as apparently happened in your niece's case, it gets paid and goes through the system. Most institutions will return a check if it is considered stale. The responsible parties of the distribution got an extra 7 months of interest, and that money should accrue to the benefit of all the beneficiaries, though it is possible that the money was in a non-interest-bearing trustee account.
DEAR BRUCE: I would like to know what a counteroffer entails. If I place an offer on a house and the seller counters with itemized conditions, do I have to re-list these conditions every time I counteroffer? -- J.L., Fairfield, Calif.
DEAR J.L.: Any time there is a condition to a counteroffer, it should be repeated. If the negotiations go back and forth three or four times, this could be a lengthy list. In a real estate transaction, only that which is reduced to writing counts. If you or the seller receives a concession and it is not incorporated into the final contract, then the concession likely goes
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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