Annie's Mailbox: It's unlikely neighbor's estate will pay
Dear Annie: I am 71 years old, and I have taken care of my neighbor, “Martha,” for 15 years. I did everything for Martha, including shopping, taking her to doctor appointments and fixing anything that needed repairs. She passed away last year and had no will.
Martha has one daughter who lives in another state. The daughter left with her stepdad when she was a teenager. She and Martha went 30 years without speaking to each other. After the stepdad died, the daughter got her foot back in the door.
Martha was worth around $100,000. My question is, can I get anything from her estate for taking care of her? I put my life on hold to do it. Martha always said that she was going to make it up to me, but I guess she never got around to it. – Good Neighbor
Dear Neighbor: We hope you didn’t take care of Martha solely to get money out of her estate. Because if she didn’t put it in writing, then you are not likely to get a dime unless her daughter chooses to compensate you. If you bought things for Martha and you kept receipts, or you have documentation about taking her to doctor’s appointments and fixing things, you may be able to be reimbursed from the estate.
You sound like a caring person who made a neighbor feel comforted and cared for. Please let that be your reward.
Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to the letter from “Befuddled Grandma,” whose young granddaughter, “Harper,” has a serious tree nut allergy. She and Harper’s mother are not doing the girl any favors by making her cousin, “Cyndi,” eat only things that are nut-free. They are setting up these girls for a lifetime of conflict.
I have lived with a peanut allergy for nearly 50 years. My parents were honest about what would happen to me if I ate or touched peanuts. As a result, I wasn’t tempted by what my sister or cousins ate. I always got my own treat – something I liked and wanted. At home, I was always served first to avoid cross-contamination. We had strict rules about cleaning up and touching things. In 50 years, I’ve had only two reactions from situations involving my family.
I’m not downplaying the danger. I have landed in the ER more than 30 times and the causes were mainly labels that didn’t list peanut oil, restaurants that were not required to tell the truth about food content and skin contact from contaminated surfaces. The last is now a bigger problem because, these days, people are constantly eating in public. Many snack foods have peanuts and people touch everything.
Please tell “Grandma” and her overprotective daughter that both Harper and Cyndi should be able to eat whatever they want as long as they don’t exchange bites and Cyndi doesn’t touch nuts and then touch her cousin. – It Can Be Done
Dear It: Your parents taught you how to protect yourself at an early age. Apparently, Harper’s parents haven’t done so, which makes her more vulnerable to cross-contamination. At some point, Harper will have to learn to manage her allergy without Mom running interference. We hope that happens soon.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.