DEAR BRUCE: I have a $10,000 I-bond that nearly doubled in value and is about to mature. Can you advise as to the tax consequences to both me and my grandchildren should I gift it to them? -- G.D.
DEAR G.D.: This shouldn't be a problem at all. You can take your bond down to any bank you do business with and, as a courtesy, it will compute the tax consequences that will be yours. Once you pay those taxes, the bond is yours free and clear, and you can give up to $14,000 a year to anyone you choose, including your grandchildren, with no taxes due from them. You could, of course, go to a CPA you use for other work, and he or she can do the computation for you.
DEAR BRUCE: My uncle passed away several years ago. I am now finding out he had two stocks that have been unclaimed. I inherited some what he had with a broker, but he apparently purchased these two stocks himself and they aren't attached to what I inherited. I need to investigate who the beneficiary is. How do I go about finding out where the stock is being held? -- L.B.
DEAR L.B.: First, you have to know what state your uncle passed away in. It will have a department that will hold the unclaimed stocks forever. You'll have to make out an application and declare yourself the beneficiary of those stocks. Of course, you will have to prove that you're the next person in line for such a claim. If you have a problem doing this and if the value of the stocks is high, you're going to want to hire an attorney to handle it.
(Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.)
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