If mutual funds are OK, let them be

Dear Bruce: I have a mutual fund account worth about $150,000. My financial adviser recently called and told me she wants me to come in and discuss moving the money somewhere else.

I asked why, and she told me that after five years the company no longer deducts her commission from my account.

Given the track record of the account over the last two years, I am reluctant to move it, but I do understand her wanting her commission. I already have three annuities and don’t want any more. I want the money in mutual funds. What do you recommend?

– M.J., email

Dear M.J.: I can understand your financial adviser wanting to have a commission of some sort. That’s what she is in business for.

However, it appears that she is also trying to sell you an annuity of some kind. As you must know, although there are some annuities that under certain circumstances I feel are appropriate, many times they are sold to the adviser’s advantage and not to your own.

If you want a mutual fund, then by all means buy one. You can purchase many mutual funds directly, without the services of a broker. If your adviser offers you nothing on this particular account that you are comfortable with, switch it to someone else, whether it’s a direct sale or a commissionable sale.

The bottom line is, it’s your choice and yours alone.

Dear Bruce: My husband and I would like to protect our assets. Our daughter is married and we have a single grandson. We do not like her husband.

Can we legally see our assets go directly to our daughter and grandson? What type of lawyer should we contact?

– D.T.., email

Dear D.T.: You raise an interesting problem. You say you would like to protect your assets. As long as they are your assets, they are protected, but the moment you transfer them to your daughter, grandson or any other relatives upon your death, you’re out. You cannot keep directing from the grave.

You say you and your husband don’t like your son-in-law, but as long as he is your daughter’s husband and the funds come to her while he is married to her, he will have an interest.

Your grandson is a different matter. Assuming the grandson has reached his majority (18), the father will have no legal interest in his son’s account.

You might wish to consult an attorney who specializes in trusts. This will probably be the best way to keep the money separated, but at best, it is a tricky proposition and will require top legal advice.

Send your questions to Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680 or email bruce@brucewilliams .com.