A: Your wife needs to apply for a credit card as the primary account holder. With a good credit score, she should have no problem getting a card.
She should apply for either a Mastercard or Visa card, and then separately apply for an American Express card. It is good to have two cards in case one gets stolen or compromised. There are plenty of cards that have no annual fee, or if you are looking for cash-back discounts or rewards points, there are many options available.
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She needs to apply for the cards as soon as possible, not months or years from now when it becomes a necessity.
At first, your wife might have a low spending limit. Once she starts using the cards, be sure to pay the monthly credit card bills in full as soon as they are received. Within a few months she will either be offered higher limits or she will be able to call and get higher limits.
Q: My wife and I own a primary residence in Fort Bend County and a second home in Harris County. Our son and his family have lived in the Harris County home for over 11 years. We want to transfer title to that home to our son at the lowest possible cost. Some friends have suggested that all we need to do is file a deed in Harris County. Is this true? How do we legally transfer the home at the lowest cost?
A: You didn’t mention whether you own the home free and clear. If you do, then you simply need to hire an attorney to prepare a gift deed which transfers ownership to your son. Once it is signed and notarized, it will get recorded in the Harris County real property records, and your son will own the home.
If you still have a mortgage, then the transfer will be far more complicated. You will want to be sure to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate to advise you.
Be sure to tell your accountant about the gift. Under federal law, you are required to file gift tax returns to report the gift even though no gift taxes will be owed (assuming you and your wife haven’t already made more than $23 million in taxable gifts).
The information in this column is intended to provide a general understanding of the law, not legal advice. Readers with legal problems, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances. Ronald Lipman of the Houston law firm Lipman & Associates is board-certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Email questions to email@example.com