DEAR BRUCE: My husband recently took a new job, which is halfway between our summer house and main house. He wants to start living in the summer house.
I want to live in the main house, which is very close to where I work. Can he vote in one county and I vote in another? Can we homestead both properties and have different legal residences? Can we file a joint tax return? — M.S., via e-mail
DEAR M.S.: You asked a lot of questions in a very short letter. Can you each vote in the county? Yes. Can you each choose a different legal address? Yes. Can you homestead both properties? That becomes a little tricky. You have to take your respective names off the property where you are going to claim the homestead, which you can get only in one place.
As to the joint tax return, that becomes troublesome because of the separate legal addresses, homesteads, etc. It’s likely that it would not pay to have the homesteads. Also, what’s to stop one of you from living in the summer house and maintaining the primary home as a legal address? Unless there is some reason for all these shenanigans, keep things as they are and file jointly and vote from whichever. There is no reason one cannot spend a good deal of time in one home and still claim the other one for his legal address.
DEAR BRUCE: We’ve owned a timeshare since August of 1983. Due to our age and health issues, we no longer want this unit. No response from the resort. What do we have to do? — P.J., via e-mail
DEAR P.J.: Yours is a story that is repeated hundreds of times a year. Not only do you owe on the timeshare itself, but you also own annual dues.
If you stop paying, some resorts simply foreclose. And that’s the end of it. Others send it off to their lawyers and start legal action in the state where the timeshare exists, making it inconvenient for people who live thousands of miles away. Discuss this with your attorney. You can offer your timeshare for free on Web sites like Craigslist. And be wary of people who claim they can sell your timeshare for several hundred dollars up front. From the point of view of the timeshare seller, you signed a contract and you’re stuck with it. Your lawyer may see things differently. I hope he does.
Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams’ House Smart be your guide. Price: $14.95, plus shipping and handling. Call: 800-337-2346.
Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to: email@example.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.