want to roll over a 401(k), and my bank is encouraging
me to roll it over to fixed annuities. Is this a good
times than not, when you go to a bank for investment
advice, what youíll get in the bargain is bad advice.
And thatís the case here.
move toward a traditional IRA, in a series of good
growth stock mutual funds. Put it across four types of
accounts: growth, growth and income, aggressive growth
and international. What youíre looking for, John, is a
great track record for your investments. You want a
track record so ridiculously good that it gives you a
great sense of comfort, even though thereís no guarantee
of whatís to come. And there are mutual funds out there
that can do just that for you. I own one thatís over 70
years old, and it has averaged nearly 12 percent over
of people talk in ďwhat ifsĒ when it comes to investing.
Well, you can play that little game all day. But if the
economy goes completely down the tubes, and the
government destroys things like mutual funds and real
estate completely, your little bank-recommended annuity
isnít going to make it, either. The banking system as a
whole will fail if all the mutual funds close because
theyíre all based in publicly traded companies. And that
means virtually every business you drive by on your way
to work would be out of business. A bankís not going to
survive that kind of thing.
youíre looking for things to help you survive the
apocalypse, youíre talking about food and water. But if
you want rational, well-reasoned investments, you need
to look at growth stock mutual funds and paid-for real
estate. Thatís what I do!
Number of payments isnít the problem
do you think debt consolidation is such a bad thing?
Debt consolidation is a bad thing because it makes you
feel like you really did something to get out of debt
and change your financial world when you didnít. People
come to me all the time saying stuff like, ďDave, I got
a second mortgage. I paid off all my debt!Ē Well, no you
didnít pay off all your debt. You just moved it around.
Thatís part of the catch when it comes to debt
consolidation. If you get a lower payment and move
things around a little bit, you feel like you actually
accomplished something. The problem with that is you
donít do anything to address the real problem, which is
Interest rates arenít your problem, and the number of
payments isnít your problem. Your problem is the person
you look at in the mirror every morning, Tessa. Until
you fix that person and get mad enough at your financial
situation and the real cause of it, youíll never make
any progress toward getting control of your finances.
Trying to borrow your way out of debt is not a good
Extravagant giving, foolish spending?
My husband and I are debt-free, and we have several
hundred thousand dollars in savings. We pay for our
children and grandchildren to visit during Christmas
each year, but my mother thinks this is foolish
spending. What do you think?
Iím sure your mom loves you guys a lot, but sheís wrong
twice on this one. First, she should mind her own
business. Second, you guys have obviously worked hard
and been extremely smart and disciplined with your
finances. For someone in your situation, bringing your
family together for one of the most important days of
the year isnít foolish on any level. I think itís awful
that youíre even having this conversation with her.
of my great dreams years ago was to have the ability to
do things like that for my family. When I was 22, I
worked for a real estate guy who would bring his entire
family in from all over the country once a year to go
skiing for a week. He and his wife would pay for
everything. They would rent a nice chalet, and spend
that time having fun as a family and growing closer
together. I sort of borrowed that idea a while back.
Once a year weíll take all our kids and their spouses on
a nice vacation. We pay for everything, and itís just
one of our gifts to them because we love them.
I think your mom is completely wrong. There are three
things you can do with money: spend, save and give.
Trust me, giving is the most fun of all!
Book a hotel room
without a credit card?
it possible to book a hotel room without a credit card?
Absolutely, it is. Just use a debit card.
donít have a credit card. When it comes to finances, the
only pieces of plastic youíll find in my wallet are two
debit cards - one for my business, and the other for my
Visa or Mastercard-branded debit card can be used
anywhere credit cards are accepted. And the best part is
that youíre not borrowing money when you use one. The
funds come directly from your checking account. Some
hotels might put a temporary hold on your account for
the amount in question, so you need to make sure you
actually have the money in the bank. But that just makes
sense, doesnít it? You shouldnít be traveling without
money in the first place.
youíre too broke to travel, then you need to stay home.
Financial Russian Roulette
March 25, 2014
wife and I are debt-free except for our home. She
travels one week per month and charges her expenses to a
personal credit card for reimbursement later. Iíd rather
we open a checking account with debit card privileges
just for these expenses. What do you think?
Iíve got to say I like your idea better. The problem
youíre both facing now is this: if her company ever
shuts down, thereís a good chance you guys are stuck
with credit card debt.
Years ago I had a client who was working for a company,
and heíd run up travel and business expenses on his
American Express card. Like your wifeís situation, his
company would then reimburse him for expenses. Then, he
made a business trip to Europe, and, while he was there,
his company asked him to pick up some computer
equipment. The cost of the trip and equipment was about
$22,000. When he returned to the office with all the
computer stuff in tow, the front door was padlocked. The
IRS had shut them down, and they went into bankruptcy.
And guess what else? He never got the $22,000 from the
Credit card companies donít care about the
circumstances. They want their money, period. You guys
have done pretty well if youíre debt-free except for
your home. But your wife is playing a game called
Financial Russian Roulette, and it could backfire on you
both at any time.
Never take personal responsibility for company expenses.
Trading debt for a
considering a career change and becoming a financial
advisor. It would mean a 45 percent cut in salary for
three to four years, and Iíd have to take on debt in
order to survive the cut. Is this a smart move?
No, itís not. You didnít give me a lot of details about
what kind of ďfinancial advisorĒ youíre thinking about
becoming, but there are all kinds of people who put
themselves in the category of financial advisor. A
little voice in my head tells me youíre actually talking
about life insurance sales. If thatís the case, then
there are some things you need to understand. One, you
wouldnít be a financial advisor; youíd be an insurance
salesman. And two, thereís about an 80 percent fallout
in that world. Eighty percent of the people who start as
insurance salesmen donít make it in that line of work.
you could be making $200,000 right now. And if that were
the case, youíd still be making good money while this
new career takes root. Still, Iím not going to send you
into debt for a career change. Thereís got to be a way
around that, whether itís delivering pizzas at night or
beginning your career change on a part-time basis before
making the jump.
Travis, I want you to live your dream. I also have no
qualms about you going into the financial world if itís
what you really want to do with your life. But Iím not
going to tell you itís OK to go tens of thousands -
maybe even hundreds of thousands - of dollars into debt
to make it happen. Going deeply into debt to become a
financial advisor sounds pretty oxymoronic to me.
Doesnít it to you?
Donít do something really dumb with money in the name of
advising other people on their finances. That just seems
Keep the lifestyle simple
March 22, 2014
recently got a new job that will increase my income by
$20,000 a year. Iíve got $65,000 in debt, and Iím
trying to pay it off, so I know I need to adjust my
budget. Do you have any suggestions for a situation like
on your increased income! The first thing Iíd tell you
is not to get used to any permanent luxuries while
youíre paying off debt. Go out and celebrate with a
really nice dinner or something like that after you get
your first paycheck. But donít go nuts or pick up any
big, new stuff. The more you put toward debt, the faster
it goes away.
been doing this financial thing for a lot of years, and
the one thing Iíve found that gets people out of debt
is passion. I want you to be so passionate about getting
out of debt that you donít even consider doing
anything else until itís all gone. Your thought
process needs to be, ďWow, I got a new job making more
money. I can get out of debt even quicker!Ē
Iím okay with you adjusting a bit that first month and
having a little fun to celebrate your good fortune. But
after that, I want you to turn around and attack the
debt with even more intensity than before. Way to go,
a tenant mercy
own a one-bedroom condo that Iím using as a rental
property. The current tenantís old agreement is up
soon, but she signed a new lease less than a month ago
and gave me a deposit, plus the first monthís rent.
Just the other day, she called and wants to back out of
the agreement. She said she discovered after she signed
that her ex is having serious health problems, and she
needs to move to help take care of their kids. What do
you think I should do?
own a bunch of rental properties, so I know for a fact
that as a landlord you run into all kinds of situations.
Some are more genuine than others. I would want some
proof as to whatís going on, but on the surface it
sounds like sheís got a valid reason for wanting to
cancel the agreement.
sheís asking for your understanding and mercy. If it
were me, and what sheís said turned out to be true,
Iíd try to lease the place to someone else as quickly
as possible, and Iíd refund her the deposit plus any
money it doesnít cost you in the process. In other
words, if it took two weeks to find another tenant, then
Iíd give back the deposit and two weekís rent. Of
course, if sheís in really bad shape-and youíre on
solid enough financial ground to withstand the blow-you
could let her out of the agreement completely and move
on to finding another tenant.
donít want to profit from someone whoís genuinely
struggling. But you have to look out for yourself and,
if possible, try to break even. Regardless, I wouldnít
take advantage of anyone whoís truly going through
hard times. Thatís just not right.
don't inherit debt
March 11, 2014
in-laws have lots of debt. In fact, theyíre always
joking that the debt theyíll leave us is more than the
inheritance. How will this affect my wife and family if
they die with all their debt still in place?
not inherit debt. Either your in-laws are misinformed,
or itís just a bad joke on their part. Now, if you were
foolish enough to co-sign on a loan with them, then
youíd be liable for the remainder of that loan. But if
they ran up $100,000 in credit card debt on their own
before they died, then the credit card companies just
donít get paid. It wouldnít cost you a dime, except that
you might get no inheritance from them, because what
they left behind would be sold to pay off as many
creditors as possible.
an even bigger example. Letís say they owned a home, and
theyíre behind on the mortgage or upside down on the
house - meaning that they owed more on it than itís
worth. You can just hand it back to the mortgage
company. Youíre not legally or morally obligated to
accept the house and the situation surrounding it
because it was left to you in a will. Just because itís
family doesnít make it jump over onto your plate!
say it again, Matthew. You donít inherit debt. Donít let
creditors, or anyone else, tell you differently.
Investing in land
do you think about land as an investment?
okay with the idea of raw land as an investment. Someone
has to buy the dirt that holds the earth together,
only problem with this kind of investment is that it
doesnít really create cash flow, unless itís farmland.
In the real estate world, we call raw land an alligator
because it eats. You have to pay taxes on it every year,
plus you have upkeep and maintenance of some form or
fashion, and it doesnít create an income. The only time
it creates income is on the back end, when you sell the
not a terrible investment, Tara. But itís not a great
one, either. I buy pieces of raw land here and there,
every once in a while. But mainly I stick with
income-producing investment properties.
Saying no to extended warranties
recently traded in my old truck for a much newer one. I
purchased an extended warranty at the time, and now I
feel like I was pressured into buying it and that it was
a mistake. What do you think?
it, if you still can. The reason you felt pressured is
because you probably were pressured by a pushy salesman.
Seventy-five percent of what you paid for that plan went
straight into the dealershipís or salesmanís pocket as
commission. Thereís even a chance they made more off the
extended warranty than the sale of the truck!
Extended warranties are only about 12 percent actual,
statistical risk. The other 12 to 13 percent goes to
miscellaneous overhead and profit. On top of that, the
company that wrote the warranty probably didnít make as
much on it as the dealership did. Itís weird, but thatís
how a lot of those models work.
donít buy extended warranties, Laura. In my mind,
theyíre just crap. Besides, if you buy something and
canít afford to fix it if something goes wrong, then you
couldnít really afford the purchase in the first place!
do you feel about gambling at a casino, as long as you
limit your spending and donít expect to win big money?
donít really have a moral problem with it, but I donít
understand the concept. Call me crazy, but I do not get
a thrill from losing money Iíve worked hard to earn.
Thatís not my idea of entertainment.
someone tells me they gamble for fun or recreation, my
first thought is theyíre delusional enough to believe
that theyíll actually win - that they think theyíre the
exception to the rule. Otherwise, there would be no
thrill. You may see a news story once in a while about
someone winning big money in a casino, but that rarely
happens. Think, too, about how much money those people
had flushed down the toilet previously while gambling.
Thereís a really good chance they didnít really ďwinĒ
anything. In most cases, they probably just recouped a
small portion of their previous, substantial losses.
advice is donít waste your time and money on that stuff.
One way or another, the house always wins. Thatís how
theyíre able to build those giant, billion dollar places
called casinos. Did you know that some of those
companies are so big and expansive that theyíre publicly
traded entities? And guess what? The profits they make
off people who are foolish enough to gamble their money
away inside their fancy halls - and call that
entertainment - drives their stock prices!
Think about it, Brian. Why do all the folks sitting at
slot machines and card tables look like they canít
afford to lose money? Most of them look like sad,
broken, lonely people. Maybe they change when they sit
down. Maybe they were winners in life and with money
before they walked through the doors, and their slumped
body language and the look of stress and hopelessness
they carry is just a coincidence or the indoor lighting.
But I donít think so.
Nobody ever saves
happens to the money in an ESA if the child gets a
scholarship and no longer needs the money?
In an Educational Savings Account (ESA), and in a 529
Plan, you are allowed to pull out money tax free in the
amount of the scholarship. But very rarely do you find
someone going to college completely free and clear.
Often tuition is covered, and even tuition and a dorm
room in some cases, but zero-cost college is almost
unheard of. There are always living expenses, books and
other miscellaneous items, and you can use the money in
an ESA for any education-related expenses.
chances of your money getting trapped and you as parents
winding up in a situation where youíve actually saved
too much and a child has leftover money just doesnít
happen. This is a bunch of drama found only in the
nightmares of nerds. Real human beings donít have this
problem, Jonathan, because nobody ever saves enough!
Check cashing for the unbanked
know you hate payday loan companies. Do you feel the
same way about check-cashing companies?
Check-cashing companies are not a good deal, but theyíre
nowhere near as bad as payday lenders. All check-cashing
businesses do is charge a fee to cash a check.
Honestly, itís kind of silly to me that places like this
can make money when all you have to do is walk into a
bank and open an account. But thereís a percentage of
our population that people in financial circles call
ďunbanked.Ē This means they avoid banks for whatever
reason, but in the process they leave themselves
susceptible to bad deals like this.
donít feel the same way about check-cashing companies as
I do about payday lenders. Itís still not a financially
smart move to pay a storefront operation a fee just to
cash a check, but these businesses arenít nearly as
abusive as payday lenders.
Letting kids make money mistakes
6-year old son has saved up $400. He said he wants to
buy a motorcycle with it someday, but he recently
changed his mind and wants to buy a computer tablet. Is
it okay for him to change his mind like this, and how
should I handle things?
Iím not really concerned whether itís a motorcycle or a
tablet, especially if heís saved his own money. I think
the big thing weíre looking for in all this is a
Certainly regret is a concern, especially with a kid so
young. But the reality is that neither the decision nor
the possible regret afterward will ruin his life. If you
talk to him and try to advise him beforehand, and he
gets upset later because he feels like he made the wrong
choice, it gives you the opportunity to step in and
gently say, ďIím sorry you think you made a bad choice,
but thatís why I wanted you to really think about it
first. You had a chance to listen to momís wisdom and
didnít. Iím sorry you feel sad now, but I want you to
remember it and learn something from this bad decision.Ē
Itís a process of controlled pain and natural
of my daughters did something similar years ago when we
went to an amusement park. All the kids had a set amount
of money for the day, and we warned them not to spend it
too soon. She turned around and blew all her money on
carnival games, then she spent the rest of the day
whining while her brother and sister rode the rides and
had lots of fun. We didnít give her any more money, but
a controlled amount of pain taught her some valuable
lessons that day. She learned to listen to her mom and
dad, she learned that carnival games are a rip-off, and
she learned to control herself a little bit and think
Allowing kids the emotional dignity of making some
decisions for themselves is vitally important. You just
have to make sure this liberty is supervised and comes
with parental warnings and protections. Just because
they saved the money doesnít mean they can do whatever
they want. It still has to be used in a way that you, as
a parent, are comfortable with and deem appropriate.
There will be some natural tension in the process, but
itís a great way to teach kids about money, decision
making, maturity and life choices!
Budgeting - Invest now or pay off debt?
I went to medical school, and now I have
$70,000 in debt. I just started a three-year residency
making about $50,000 a year, while my wife makes
$40,000. The student loans represent our only debt. Do
you think we should be paying this off or investing in a
were in your shoes, Iíd work on paying down the student
loans. That means you may never be in a Roth, but there
are other things you can invest in and grow wealth.
realize this may not seem right mathematically, but I
donít always make financial decisions based exclusively
on math. Many times I do things based on changing money
behaviors - stuff like paying off debts from smallest to
largest because it actually works. Personal finance is
80 percent behavior, and only 20 percent head knowledge.
So sometimes you have to go with what actually works
best overall, in spite of what the technical math shows.
your case, I think itís going to be very valuable to
have no student loans by the time you complete your
residency. With three years to go, and living on a
$90,000 a year income, you can do it. Then, when you
come through the other side as a full-fledged doctor,
youíll have the great income and be sitting there
debt-free. Not a bad place to be, right?
understand the Roth seems like a pretty good idea right
now, but my advice is to stick with becoming debt-free
as quickly as possible. Once thatís done, you and your
wife will be able to invest, save, and build wealth like
Investing -Donít risk the family farm
wife started working at a pharmaceutical company that
gave her a few thousand dollarsí worth of stock. In the
last year that stock has doubled in value. Weíve
considered buying more just to see how it does. What do
you think about this?
understand why you guys would be excited, but youíre
still looking at a very risky proposition. Any stock
that doubles its value in just one year is highly
volatile. Itís very unusual when things like that
happen, and the fact is, it could go down in value just
think you should be completely debt-free, except for
your house, and have an emergency fund of three to six
months of expenses in place before you start any outside
investing. You should also make sure that 15 percent of
your income is already going toward retirement.
donít mind you dabbling a little bit as long as all the
other stuff is taken care of first. But Iíd advise you
to never put more than 10 percent of your nest egg into
single stocks. If youíve got $50,000 in a 401(k) right
now, limit yourself to $5,000 in this area. That way, if
the stock tanks and you lose it all, itís only a small
blip on the radar. Youíll still be financially intact
and able to retire with dignity.
would be fantastic if this stock went through the roof
and you two made a ton of money. That would be awesome!
But make sure you limit the potential for damage by
limiting your exposure. Donít risk the family farm, as
they say, to make this play.
Getting them to stop
How can I get credit card companies to
stop sending us preapproved offers? My wife continues to
sign up for these, and now we have $40,000 in credit
Chances are youíll never get credit card companies to
stop sending stuff, but there a few things you can do
that might help slow things down. Access your credit
bureau report, and opt out of marketing offers. You can
also freeze your credit report, and send direct requests
to the credit card companies to take you off their
been telling people not to use credit cards for 20 years
and, believe it or not, even I get offers in the mail.
The more mailing lists you get on, the more your mailbox
will fill up with junk mail. If you have magazine
subscriptions and things like that, your contact
information is circulating all over the place.
next thing Iím going to say may sound cruel, but I
really donít mean it that way. You donít have a junk
mail problem, Dan. You have a relationship problem. You
two are not on the same page about money. Either she
doesnít feel like you two have enough money, and sheís
resorting to credit cards for this reason, or she does
this because sheís a spoiled brat who thinks she should
always have what she wants when she wants it. Her
behavior is destroying your financial lives and driving
a wedge between you.
advice would be to sit down and have a gentle, loving
talk with her about all this. Try to find out why she
feels the need to have all these credit cards, and
explain that youíre worried about what itís doing to
your marriage and your finances. That may mean having to
spend some time with a marriage counselor, but thatís
okay, too. Thereís no reason to be ashamed of something
like that. The truth is, most of us who have been
married more than 20 minutes could use a little help in
that area of our lives!
Balance transfers donít do much
trying to pay off my credit card and get out of debt. Do
you think I should transfer the balance to one with a
lower interest rate while I do this?
not against this idea, as long as you understand that
youíre not really accomplishing much. All youíre doing
is moving money around, and maybe saving a tiny bit on
interest. If you were planning on keeping the debt
around for 30 years it would become a big deal. But if
youíre talking about a few months, just until you get it
paid off, itís not that much money.
problem with balance transfers is that you feel like you
took a big step forward when you really didnít. Lots of
times this causes people to lose focus on other things
they can do to get out of debt, like picking up an extra
job or selling a bunch of crap they donít want or need.
That kind of stuff, along with living on rice and beans
and a strict written budget, is 98 percent of the battle
when it comes to getting out of debt!
so special about $1 million?
heard you say many times you shouldnít buy a brand-new
car unless you have a net worth of $1 million. Whatís so
special about a million dollars?
In all honesty, thereís nothing particularly special
about a million dollars. A brand-new car will lose about
60 percent of its value in the first four years. So, if
youíre going to turn a $30,000 investment into $12,000,
youíve got to have a bunch of money. Youíve got to be in
pretty great financial shape in order to absorb the
your entire net worth is $100,000, and you put $30,000
of it into a vehicle that will lose 60 percent of its
value, youíre just being financially and mathematically
stupid. Your income is your largest and most powerful
wealth-building tool. If youíre buying things that go
the wrong way in terms of value, youíre not gaining
wealth; youíre losing wealth.
Thereís really nothing special about $1 million. I could
have said $2 million or $900,000, but $1 million is easy
to remember. Plus, itís nothing to sneeze at in terms of
an individualís net worth. When you lose a lot, and itís
a small percentage of a lot, you donít have to worry so
much. But when you lose a lot and you didnít have much
to begin with, thatís a recipe for financial disaster!
Do fewer dumb things
parents co-signed on government loans so I could go to
college. Would my forbearance or non-payment affect
their credit if I donít pay?
Yes, it would. Iím not trying to lay a guilt trip on
you, kiddo, but youíll be trashing your mom and dadís
credit if you donít pay the bills on time. If they
co-signed for you, theyíll start getting phone calls,
too, if you donít do the right thing and pay back these
truth is, your mom and dad shouldnít have co-signed for
you in the first place. Thereís only one reason lenders
want a co-signer, and thatís because theyíre afraid the
person taking out the loan wonít be able to pay back
goal here isnít to beat you up, Tiffany. Itís to give
you information that you - and your parents - need in
order to make different, smarter decisions in the
future. We all do dumb things sometimes. In the past, I
did some really dumb things with very large numbers
attached. The goal is to grow, learn, and try to use
what we learn in order to do fewer dumb things in the
Where to save?
26, and I just started a new job making $50,000. Iíve
also been offered a 401(k) with no match. Should I put
money into the 401(k) or open a high-yield CD?
got another idea. Iíd open a Roth IRA with good growth
stock mutual funds inside and fund it up to $5,500 a
year. Make sure these mutual funds have been open at
least five years - preferably 10 years or more - and
have performed well. Mathematically, this investment,
growing tax-free, will be superior to a non-matching
Then, if you want to invest more than $5,500, you could
put some additional money into the 401(k) offered by
your company. Again, make sure youíre invested in good
growth stock mutual funds with long, successful track
Congratulations, Crystal. And good luck!
heard you say to never give collectors access to your
checking account. Does that include payments with a
debit card too?
Absolutely! If youíre doing something like scheduling
utility payments to come through your debit card or out
of your personal checking account, thatís perfectly
fine. But collectors are looking to get as much as they
can on a bad, late debt. Never, under any circumstances,
give them electronic access to your account.
been doing financial counseling for a long time now, and
Iíve seen numerous situations where collectors have
taken more than the agreed-upon amount from someoneís
account once they gained access. This sleazy move left
people without the money to pay their rent, the electric
bill or even groceries. In fairness, the collection
business does have a few good people in it, but it also
has a high percentage of people who are scum -
especially on the credit card side of collections. Some
of them will lie and even make threats. Itís a huge
There are other, much safer ways to handle these kinds
of situations. Send a money order overnight or wire the
cash to them. You can also send a cashierís check. Some
folks have even used a pre-paid debit card that isnít
attached to any of your accounts. This isnít my favorite
way to handle things, but itís better than giving them
the opportunity to clean you out and mess you over!
a little worried about investing in the market due to
volatility. Are there safer investments?
Youíre right; the market is volatile. Itís not as
volatile as some things, but you have to remember that
anywhere thereís money to be made - including long-term
investing - there are ups and downs.
instance, I like real estate. Itís not as volatile as
the stock market, but there are no guarantees. We
experienced that big dip over the last few years, and it
was probably one of largest dips ever in the real estate
market, except for the Great Depression.
Aside from real estate, I also like mutual funds. When
it comes to these, one way to smooth out the volatility
of the market is through diversification. That means you
spread your money around instead of investing in one or
two things. Thatís how I handle my mutual funds, and I
recommend others do the same. Spread your investments
across these four types of mutual funds: growth, growth
and income, aggressive growth and international.
canít say it enough, Matt. There are no guarantees when
it comes to long-term investing. But diversification can
help make the ride a little bit smoother!
Pay the IRS first!
husband has his own business installing windows. As a
result, we now have IRS and state tax debt. Weíre
managing the payments, but where should these debts be
placed in the debt snowball plan?
donít usually cheat on the smallest to largest
progression of the debt snowball, but Iíd recommend
moving these debts to the top of the list.
state and federal taxes come with ridiculous penalties
and interest rates, and the authorities at either level
have virtually unlimited power at their disposal to
screw with your life if something bad happens. The IRS
can actually take your money without suing you. So, you
donít want to become a blip on their radar screen by
being late with payments.
it cleaned up as quickly as possible, Olivia. You donít
want to mess around with these guys!
on the checking account
husband died eight years ago, and I never closed his
bank accounts that were opened when we lived in another
state. We lived in Florida before moving to Oregon. I
didnít probate the estate, and he did not have a will.
Iím trying to work with the banks to get this settled,
but theyíre giving me the runaround. Do you have any
The first thing you need to do is contact an attorney
who handles estate planning. If the accounts were opened
in Florida, but you both lived in Oregon at the time of
his death, technically the estate would be probated in
Oregon. That may be what has to happen. If so, a judge
would appoint you as executor. As executor, you can
close the accounts and disperse any money to the
rightful heir - which is you.
prepared, though. It may take somewhere between $250 and
$500 in attorney fees and court costs to make this
happen. If youíre lucky, you might get a simple motion
from the court that would cost you next to nothing. But
find a good estate planning attorney who knows Oregon
law inside and out. Estate laws and probate laws differ
from state to state, and Florida and Oregon both have
some weird laws in these areas.
probably seems like a lot of trouble, but you have to
remember the banks are simply trying to protect
themselves and follow the law. Anyone could walk in with
a death certificate (theyíre public record), and claim
to be an heir. So, they have to have a court document in
order to avoid any potential liability.
sorry for your loss, Melinda. I know it still hurts
after all this time, but you need to address this as
soon as possible. Iím sure itís what your husband would