Pharos-Tribune

Business

April 20, 2014

SMART MONEY: Charity receiving estate will handle probate

DEAR BRUCE: I hope you can help us figure out what to do. I am 76 years old, and my husband is 78. We are thinking about getting a trust to avoid probate when we pass away. We have been to many seminars discussing this matter, and I still don’t understand why we would need one. We have no have children, and we would be leaving the money to charity. — H.L., via email

DEAR H.L.: I don’t see where you have anything to concern yourself with. You tied it up when you said you will be leaving the money to a charity you decide upon.

Approach the charity as quickly as possible when you make the decision and explain that you are leaving the money to it. The charity will be responsible for paying whatever money is required to probate the will. Trust me, it will be happy to do that with its own lawyers and without any expense to you.

DEAR BRUCE: I own a condominium that is worth around $65,000, according to the appraiser. I want to relocate to Michigan because I was offered a better position in my company. I have $35,000 left on the loan. A nice young couple offered me $55,000 cash.

Do you think I should settle for a $10,000 loss or wait until a better offer comes? What if a better offer doesn’t come? The housing market doesn’t seem to be very good. — Peter, via email

DEAR PETER: Your problem is a simple one. The appraisal of $65,000 is strictly a matter of guessing and not written in stone. You want to go to Michigan for a better job, you have $35,000 left on the loan, and you’ve been offered $55,000 cash. That seems to be a no-brainer. It would be different if the market was on a definite uphill, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

You never know when you buy real estate whether it’s going to go up, down or stay the same. In this case, it apparently went down. If your investigation is correct, take the $55,000, pay off the mortgage and get on with your new life.

Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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