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Trusts can have downsides (access required)

DEAR BENNY: What are your thoughts on placing residential rental properties into a charitable remainder trust to be able to collect the rents and have the income offset by the charitable donation write-offs over the years allowed and sell the properties at a later date to avoid capital gains? Would you know what the requirements are as to how much must be retained in this type trust for the charity? Are there pitfalls to be aware of placing property into a CRT? —Jame

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When it comes to stocks, dad doesn’t know best (access required)

I'm 41 and divorced with two children. And, thanks to my super dad, I've had a great job for 11 years, with excellent benefits and a very good retirement plan. I have an individual retirement account worth $109,000, consisting only of stocks you have recommended in the past eight years. I got a good bonus this year, and my dad, who retired from Kimberly-Clark, recommends I buy 100 shares of that corporation. What do you think?

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Resolving property line disputes
 (access required)

My husband and I have owned our home since 1973. At the time we purchased the home, there was an existing fence between our neighbor's house and ours that we had assumed was on the property line. Our current neighbors moved into their house in 2000. They recently had a "topographic survey" of their property performed for a proposed landscaping project. The survey shows that the fence is not on the property line, but that it extends in the range of approximately 2 to 4 feet at various points onto their side of the property line.

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If you must sell a stock, then sell … (access required)

I want to make a gift to Morning Star Development, an evangelical missionary organization that sends laypeople, doctors, nurses and teachers to Afghanistan to provide schooling, irrigation projects, medical care and nursing care to the poor people who live in the mountain villages. I have three stocks, each worth about $6,000, and want to contribute one of these three for the organization to sell and use the proceeds for its good work.

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How to keep fraud, and negative headlines, away (access required)

Two Charlotte-area cases of embezzlement recently became public. In one, Jeremy Russell, former chief of the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department and director of the fire/EMS division, pleaded guilty to stealing approximately $225,000 over a three-year period. In another case, a former project manager for Boggs Paving is accused of stealing more than $888,680 over a six-year period.

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Why economy’s pains don’t stop market’s gains (access required)

I am 63 and recently got laid off after 31 years with a Fortune 500 company. Considering the economy here and overseas, why would stocks increase in price? We have a record national debt, and the Federal Reserve prints $85 billion of new money every month and gives it to the banks that won’t lend it to consumers, who are charged $49 to bounce a check.

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Pay your dues; then you can sue (access required)

We live in a large condominium complex and our unit happens to be located close enough to the lobby that we hear the elevator constantly. The sound, what I call harmonizing, has been occurring for the last five to six years. I have spoken to the management many times and they have responded by repairing, but the fix is never long-lasting.

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Outs-go with Invesco: Sell, sell, sell (access required)

We bought 260 shares of Invesco Ltd. in December 2007 at $31.45, and the stock hasn’t been back there since. We have nine other stocks, but this is the only one we are concerned about. We need to raise about $7,500 more in cash to modify our home so our Marine son, who was injured in Afghanistan, can move in with us until he recovers.

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