DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I don’t want my husband’s niece on our vacation property, but my husband feels otherwise.
He acknowledges that “Taylor” is irresponsible, a substance abuser and a liar. But he doesn’t want to ban her because he doesn’t want to upset her father, who’s his brother.
Since my husband and I own the place together, 50/50, how do we break the deadlock? — P.F.
DEAR P.F.: Fortunately, you and your husband have the same take on your niece’s character, so a compromise should be possible.
For example, perhaps the two of you can agree that Taylor is allowed on your vacation property only when at least one of you is present or only for certain occasions — say, big family events. Or perhaps you and your husband can agree that Taylor is persona non grata but that you alone will take responsibility for the decision — and also take the heat — if her father objects.
However, if you can’t find a middle ground, you and your husband can always flip a coin, with the understanding that the loser gets full I-told-you-so rights.
P.S. Taylor’s father may prove to be more philosophical than your husband imagines, should you blacklist his daughter. He does, after all, know Taylor.
Brother is abusing your generosity
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I took out a $5,000 burial insurance policy for my brother because I was concerned that when he dies, there’d be no money to cover the cost of burying him. (I had to pay for our sister’s funeral and interment, and it was very expensive.) I’ve been paying on this policy for almost 15 years.
Well, now my brother tells me he needs money and he’s planning to borrow against the policy. He says he has the right to do this because, even though I’m the person who has been paying the premiums, he’s considered the “owner” of the policy. What can I do? — J.T.
DEAR J.T.: First of all, worry less about paying for your brother’s interment. In abusing your generosity, he has forfeited any right he might have had to expect you to see that he gets a decent burial.
Also, talk to your insurance agent, because your brother may be misinformed. It’s unusual for the payer on a policy like this — that is, you — not to also be the owner, and thus the only person qualified to borrow against it.
However, if your brother is not misinformed, consider telling him you’ll stop paying the premiums if he borrows against the policy. Maybe the prospect of spending eternity in potter’s field will lead him to reconsider.
Aunt obviously trusted in you to share bequest
DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I am one of the heirs to my late aunt’s estate. It was her wish, expressed in her will, that I share my portion with my brother and sister. But she didn’t specify what “share” meant.
Should I be giving one-third of the bequest to each of my siblings, or is it up to me to decide how much to give them? By the way, I was a lot more attentive to my aunt than they were. Also by the way, she left me $10,000. — Wavering
DEAR WAVERING: Ten grand is certainly not a number that has “divide me by three” written all over it.
Your obligation, of course, is to carry out your aunt’s wishes. However, since she didn’t spell them out, all you can do is take your best guess, first, as to what she meant by “share,” and, second, as to why she left it up to you to give her money to your siblings rather than leaving each of them an outright bequest herself.
Our best guess is that she wanted you to exercise your good judgment and that she’d be pleased to see her attentive nephew keep more.
Email your questions about money and relationships to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| King Features Syndicate