Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 26, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page B:3




 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 26, 2014 




 While experts may debate the value of holding an 
open house, your home may be a good candidate 
for this marketing tool. If your agent offers to show 
off your home on a Sunday afternoon, apply some 
elbow grease and take advantage of the opportunity.

 Obviously, get things tidy inside and out. Give 
all of your counter tops a spacious feel by hiding 
your toiletries under the sink in the bathroom, and 
by stashing your kitchen appliances in the cabinets. 
Clean and clear make a great impression. 

Also remove photographs, appointment cards, 
school artwork, etc. from the refrigerator and other 
areas of the house. Yes, it’s your home, but you want 
buyers to picture it as their home, so don’t intrude 
on the fantasy!

 You can encourage buyers to linger by simply 
putting out refreshments, like fresh baked cookies 
(the aroma can be a powerful intoxicant!), and 
a pitcher of iced tea or minis of bottled water - 
anything to make them pause and take a closer look 

 The one thing that shouldn’t be in the home 
during an open house is… you. No offense meant, 
but buyers are there to see the home, not the owner, 
and they may feel uncomfortable asking probing 
questions if you are within earshot. Make your 
visitors feel at ease, and trust your agent to take care 
of the rest!


 Gifting assets can be a useful estate planning tool 
if you need to reduce your estate tax bill or for long-
term care planning purposes. However, you need to 
be sure that your gift does not cause any unforeseen 
problems for you or the person receiving your gift. 

 Here are five questions you should ask yourself 
before gifting:

 Why is the gift being made? Are you making a 
gift out of love or is there some estate planning goal 
you are trying to reach? If it’s the latter, you need to 
be sure that the transfer of assets will be beneficial 
to you and your recipient. For example, if you are 
counting on Medicaid to pay for some of your long-
term care, a gift could trigger up to five years of 
ineligibility unless handled correctly. Contact us or 
your own personal lawyer to evaluate your options.

 Are you keeping enough for your needs? If you 
are making a large gift, you will need to do some 
long-term financial planning to ensure your gift 
does not compromise your future needs.

 Are you expecting repayment? If your gift comes 
with an expectation on your part that you will be 
repaid, be sure your recipient understands that the 
gift is coming with these strings attached. Execute a 
promissory note so all parties are clear on the terms 
of your gift.

 Are you expecting something else in return? If 
you are gifting property with the expectation that 
you will be allowed to live there, or gifting assets for 
someone else to hold for you, you should consider 
using a trust for these purposes instead. If you don’t, 
the recipient is legally in control of the gift and if 
they don’t do what you want with it -- or worse, your 
assets become entangled in a divorce or bankruptcy 
-- this could cause huge problems for you.

 Will the recipient benefit from your gift? If your 
recipient has special needs, a gift could disqualify 
them from receiving important benefits. If he or she 
has financial or other problems like alcohol or drug 
dependency issues, the gift could be detrimental. 

 One of the best ways for you to gift assets is 
through a Wealth Creation Trust, which allows you 
to decide the best time for children or grandchildren 
to receive your gift and gives them the necessary 
time and experience to learn how to protect and 
grow the assets in the trust for future generations. 
Call 626.355.4000 or visit for 
more information. 

Marc, a local attorney, father, and Court Appointed 
Special Advocate for Children (CASA) is on a mission 
to help parents leave a legacy of love and financial 
security for their families. His office is located at 49 S. 
Baldwin Ave., Ste. G, Sierra Madre, CA 91024.


By Greg Welborn

Annuities seem to be coming back into vogue 
if the pace of advertising is any guide to market 
swings, and while annuities offer many benefits, 
they aren’t the magic bullet that meets all financial 
needs. Moreover, annuities have fees which need 
to be understood in the context of the benefits 
being offered. Below is a quick primer on the cost 
structure of annuities.

 There are essentially four types of annuity fees. 
They are not all present in every annuity, but all 
annuity fees will fall into one of these categories. 

 The first and most basic is the insurance charge. 
Sometimes referred to as “mortality and expenses”, 
it is the fee associated with the annuity’s death 
benefit, and it also covers the administrative costs. 
In addition to accumulating value over time, 
annuities can offer a specific payout to the owner’s 
beneficiaries when the owner dies. This death 
benefit has a cost which is passed on to the owner.

 The second level consists of investment 
management fees. If the annuity offers investments 
options, these fees are paid for the management of 
the money which is accumulating in the annuity. 
These fees are stated as a percentage of the annuity’s 
daily accumulated value.

 The third level consists of rider fees. These fees 
cover any optional product features. The more 
features being offered, the more fees there are likely 
to be. They are usually based on some percentage 
of either the accumulated value or on the amount 
of some guarantee being offered. The product 
features run the full spectrum from very useful to 
very frivolous, but you should always understand 
the cost of each extra benefit being offered and then 
assess whether the value of that benefit is worth the 

consists of surrender charges. This is a charge which 
you incur if you “surrender” the annuity within a 
certain time frame; surrender simply means you 
ask to cancel the contract and take whatever benefit 
exists at that time. The surrender charges cover 
the commissions paid to whoever sold the annuity, 
and they provide motivation for the owner to stay 
with the annuity. They usually start high – say 8% 
if surrendered in the first year – and decrease over 
time – ultimately to 0% around the 8th year. They 
are deducted only if you actually surrender the 
policy. They are not charged if you stay with the 

 The primary take-away from this primer should 
be to thoroughly understand each and every one 
of the charges in any annuity before you purchase 
it. Make sure that you’re paying for something you 
really value, and don’t be afraid to shop around, to 
ask questions and to wait until you get the honest 
answers you deserve.

 About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is the 
Managing Partner of First Financial Consulting, 
a fee-only advisory firm. He has worked with The 
Today Show, Kiplinger’s Magazine, and USA Today 
to provide objective financial advice to their readers 
and listeners. He has 3 grown children and is 
honored to be married to his wife of 25 years. He can 
be reached at

THOUSAND Eighth annual real estate ranking published in 
conjunction with The Wall Street Journal

Sierra Madre, CA (Grassroots 
Newswire) 07/14/2014 -- Andy 
Bencosme, Managing Broker of 
CENTURY 21 Village Realty, 
announced today that REALTOR 
Nazee Rix has made the REAL 
Trends 2014 “Top Thousand” list 
of America’s top 1000 real estate 
sales professionals and teams for 
Individual Sales Professionals 
-- Sales volume. REAL Trends/
The Wall Street Journal Top 
Thousand is an annual national 
awards ranking sponsored by 
the two respected publications. 
Designees are recognized as the 
top one half of one percent of the 
approximate one million licensed 
REALTORS® nationwide.

 “We are honored to have the opportunity to have 
the contributions of Nazee Rix, associated with 
CENTURY 21 Village Realty recognized by the 
’Top Thousand’ list. Her achievement is notable and 
valued by everyone in the CENTURY 21® System,” 
said Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 
21 Real Estate LLC. “With inclusion in such a 
prestigious category, Nazee Rix, of CENTURY 21 
Village Realty raises the bar for real estate sales and 
customer service excellence across the industry.”

 The Top Thousand Real Estate Professionals was 
announced on June 27, 2014 with four separate 
categories honoring the top 250 residential agents 
and agent teams for excellence 
in: Individual Sales Professionals 
-- Sales volume; Individual Sales 
Professionals -- Transaction sides 
(in each real estate transaction, 
there are two sides that can be 
represented by a real estate agent: 
a buyer’s and a seller’s); Team 
Professionals -- Sales volume, 
and Team Professionals -- 
Transaction sides.

 CENTURY 21 Village Realty is 
a full-service brokerage located 
at 38 W Sierra Madre Blvd in 
Sierra Madre, specializing in 
Residential, Commercial, Income 
Property and Fine Homes & 
Estates properties.

 About CENTURY 21 Village Realty
CENTURY 21 Village Realty has been serving 
the Greater San Gabriel Valley since 1986. They 
are an independently owned and operated 
franchise affiliate of Century 21 Real Estate LLC 
(, the franchisor of the world’s 
largest residential real estate franchise sales 
organization, comprised of approximately 7,000 
independently owned and operated franchised 
broker offices in 77 countries and territories 
worldwide with more than 102,000 independent 
sales professionals.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: