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 Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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