Ask Noel

We want a larger home but with our debts can't save any money. We're considering selling it, paying off our debts and saving what is left. We'd rent for 12 months and continue to save, which would leave us with enough to buy a larger home. We'd then be debt free apart from the mortgage. Is this a wise move?

I'm reluctant to see you sell and re-buy as you will lose more than $50,000 in transaction costs. Also, once the proceeds of the sale are in the bank, it would be easy to fritter it away. A better option may be to do some strict budgeting until your finances are less stretched. But if you intend moving anyway, your proposed strategy may work as long as you exercise discipline.

I'm a pensioner but my partner of 20 years isn't. Because of family, we do not live together but I spend a lot of time with him. He isn't well and I help out in many ways, which I don't mind. His boys do little for him. If he passed on, would I be able to make a claim on his estate?

You could make a claim on his estate, but the outcome would be uncertain and it could be costly and time consuming. It's best to solve the problem in advance and have him change his will so that you are taken care of. Make sure this is done by a solicitor, which will lessen the chances of it being challenged.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Email:

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