June 16, 2010

How To Choose an HSA

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

A health savings account, or HSA, is exactly what the name implies: a financial account that can be used to save money for future medical expenses. These accounts, combined with a high-deductible health insurance plan, also offer certain income tax breaks that make them even more attractive.

But which health savings account offers the best deal?

The answer depends in part on how the account will be used, according to Liz Ryan, senior vice president of the health benefit services group at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis. Most people fund an HSA and then use the money to pay for recurring or occasional medical costs either immediately or over time. But some use an HSA to accumulate savings for anticipated medical costs far in the future.

Read on: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/savings/how-to-choose-a-health-savings-account-1.aspx

Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer

By Marcie Geffner - HouseLogic.com

You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You’re excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counteroffer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.

Read on: http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/fielding-lowball-purchase-offer-your-home/

June 15, 2010

Bank accounts after death

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

It's a morbid thought, but the fact is that a dead person can't use a bank account. So what happens to a bank account -- and the money in it -- when someone dies?

The answer depends on whose name is on the account and whether the account is held in a living trust, according to Michael Halloran, a wealth management adviser in Jacksonville, Fla.

If the account isn't held jointly or in a trust -- and Halloran says such lack of planning is the case more often than not -- the account becomes off limits until the estate is settled in a court proceeding. In the meantime, a judge may issue a letter to allow an executor or administrator of the estate access to the account, but only to pay so-called "last expenses" (e.g., funeral costs).

Read on: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/savings/when-you-die-is-your-bank-account-in-limbo-1.aspx