My cousin “Sam” refuses to return something that rightfully belongs to my family.
When I visited him recently, I noticed he had a nicely bound collection of baseball cards. Sam said our grandfather had given the cards to Sam’s father, who’d in turn given them to Sam. Since I knew my father (now deceased) collected baseball cards as a kid, I asked if the cards might originally have been Dad’s.
Sam said that they were and that, as he understood it, my father had left them at our grandfather’s house for decades, never coming by to pick them up, and, for that matter, never visiting his father either. So our grandfather finally gave the cards to Sam’s dad.
I was shocked. I know the relationship between my father and my grandfather wasn’t great, but my grandfather still had no right to give away Dad’s cards. And with Dad gone, I think those cards belong to me and my siblings. Sam thinks I’m nuts. What should I do? The cards aren’t valuable; it’s the principle that matters to me. — Barry
What principle would that be? Look, your grandfather didn’t steal your father’s baseball cards — he got stuck with them. And no one, including a parent, is obligated to provide storage forever.
So when your grandfather finally gave away the cards, he was only getting rid of something that your father had abandoned decades earlier.
In other words, your father forfeited the baseball cards when he walked away not only from them, but also from his father. So if you want to display a memento in your home that will remind you of your dad, make it something he left you in his will.
And don’t feel bad about the baseball cards. Your father obviously wasn’t sentimental about them, and you shouldn’t be either.Give moocher one more chance
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD:
For the past year or so, a group of us has been meeting for lunch every few weeks. But one of the women kept “forgetting” her wallet, so we told her that we no longer get together. In fact, though, we still do, just without “Kelly.”
Unfortunately, she has found out. And she’s begging us to let her come, swearing she’ll never stick us with her tab again (obviously, she understood what the problem was).
Some of us want to give Kelly a second chance, and some of us, including me, don’t. Your opinion? — Melissa
Sounds like Kelly has had quite a few second chances already. Still, it’s OK to go along with giving her one more, provided the folks who favor doing so agree to pay for Kelly’s lunch themselves if she “forgets” her wallet again — and, after lunch, to tell her that she’s banished forever.Have boyfriend transfer ownership
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD:
My boyfriend is on the title to my house because when I bought it, I couldn’t qualify for a loan by myself. But only I put up the money for the down payment, and only I have been paying off the mortgage.
The problem is, in the past couple of years, my boyfriend has been piling up lots of debt. I’m worried that if something happens to him, his creditors could come after my house. So I’ve asked him to sign his half over to me. But he says there’s no need, because his debts will die with him. Can this be true? — Worried
If only. Whenever your boyfriend dies, his estate will be liable for his debts. And right now, his estate includes a share of the house you alone bought and paid for.
So prepare the documents necessary to transfer his ownership to you, then hand him a pen. And the next time your sweetie begins to opine on an important financial matter, plug your ears.