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Mortgage relief extended (access required)

On Jan. 2, President Obama signed into law the legislation designed to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." Included in the law was an extension of the law that helps homeowners whose property has been foreclosed from having to pay income tax on the debt that they no longer have to pay.

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Time share can be time-suck (access required)

My time-share maintenance fees exceed $2,000 per year. While this does not cause a real hardship on me, I was wondering what happens to the time share ownership if the primary deed owner dies. When I die — I'm 80 now — I assume the time share points go into my estate. And, if they do, does that obligate my heirs to continue to pay the annual maintenance fees in perpetuity?

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What to know when paying off the mortgage (access required)

I will be soon paying off, in its entirety, the mortgage on my home. For your information, I have been current on my payments throughout the 10-year term. The mortgage company is a credit union, and I intend to continue residing in my home. Upon full and complete payment of all that is due on my part, is the mortgage company obliged to record a release of the mortgage (deed of trust) in the land registry of the county or execute a promissory note release? What can/should I expect from the mortgage company in proof of the full and complete payoff?

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Want higher CD yields? Say ‘oui’ to this investment (access required)

Like most of us, I am looking for higher yields on my certificates of deposit. I have a $7,000 CD, which paid 4.5 percent, that recently came due, and a neighbor, whose husband works in France for an American drug company, told me that they recently bought 300 shares of a French utility called GDF Suez, because it yields 9.2 percent.

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Beware when signing Form 4506 (access required)

I understand that when homebuyers sign closing documents, they are routinely required to sign a blanket form allowing the lender to access IRS records with no time limit. The form says not to sign it unless dates are specified on the form, but lenders routinely insist they be signed without any specification as to which years of IRS records are covered.

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