SMART MONEY: Will is the way to be sure about who gets what
DEAR BRUCE: I am 87 years old, male, and in declining health. After a family death I registered a niece as joint tenant on my $300,000 home, which will automatically go to her when I die.
Am I correct? My savings accounts are each with nieces as the beneficiaries.
This, too, will go to them without hassles. Is this correct? Should this be noted too in my will?
My home is furnished modestly, but comfortably.
In joint tenancy, is the furniture, etc., included?
Should this be part of the real estate or should I will it to someone or donate it? — Reader, via email
DEAR READER: The niece gets the house when you die, period. If each of your nieces is a beneficiary on a savings account, that should be without a hassle. Should this be noted in your will? Absolutely!
As far as the contents of your home go, I would will it to the niece who is getting the house and she can donate as she chooses.
It seems to me that you have a good handle on things.
Since you have a substantial estate, I hope that you have accommodated all these movements with the oversight of an attorney.
DEAR BRUCE: I’m 25 and I have about $20,000 in hospital bills that I currently make payments on.
I have been approved for a home loan for $75,000.
Currently, I live in an apartment and I make a car payment every month, which is about 90 percent of my monthly income.
Would it be smart to take a house now, even though I may be paying more? If I do get a home, I would sell my car so I can get away from payments and buy a car outright with cash.
I also feel bogged down because paying for my apartment is not helping my credit.
I got stuck paying all the rent once I kicked out my ex-boyfriend.
Should I stay in my apartment until the lease runs out or move? — O.P., via email
DEAR O.P.: Right now you are extended as far as you should be.
Buying a home or condo, in my opinion, is not the way to go.
Rather than go out and incur more debt, which may push you over the edge, I would stay in the apartment until the lease runs out.
I am assuming you signed a lease and if you leave early you will be held responsible for the remaining portion.
You learned the hard way about kicking out the ex-boyfriend.
I suggest you pay down many of your obligations, live close and, if possible at your tender years, get a second job to increase your income.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.
Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided. The Bruce Williams Radio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at www.taeradio.com. It is also available at www.brucewilliams.com.