Old stocks may require some sleuthing


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Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2013, 6:52 pm
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By Bruce Williams

DEAR BRUCE: I have read your column for years. I have some old stocks from the 1930s and would like to know if they have any value. I have tried to look up the companies online, and they are out of business. -- W.S., Lexington, Ky.

DEAR W.S.: Since you have access to a computer, you can search out companies that will research old stocks for you. A good place to start is the Securities and Exchange Commission's website (sec.gov). It offers suggestions for how to go about tracking down additional information.

Also, the Internet has all kinds of websites where you can go for help, sometimes for a fee. By doing some homework, you should be able to find out if the stocks have any value.

DEAR BRUCE: My husband and I decided that we were going to build the home of our dreams for our retirement. We hired a builder.

During the building process, we noticed several things that we didn't like. We talked to the builder about them, and he assured us that everything would be all right. Well, everything isn't all right, and now problems have arisen as a result.

We spent a lot of money on this house, and we want it to be right. Can we take the builder to court and force him to make these changes? -- Sam and Elaine, via email

DEAR SAM AND ELAINE: You can take someone to court for almost any reason. Whether you prevail is another question.

The first thing you should do is get a second opinion from someone who is qualified, such as a private home inspector, to see if your complaints are legitimate. You also should determine how much it would cost to have these problems fixed.

In a lawsuit of this type, the plaintiff asks for a dollar amount as a remedy, rather than requiring that the builder do specific work.

If the costs involved in fixing the problems are modest, it might be to your advantage to pay to have the work done and put the matter behind you. If it's a significant amount of money, a small-claim action certainly is warranted.

You should know, however, that even if you receive a judgment, collecting it may prove difficult.




Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com or to Smart Money, P.O. Box 7150, Hudson, FL 34674. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns, but personal replies cannot be provided.
















 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.








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