Originally Published: August 19, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our mid-80s. During our life together, we’ve rarely discussed money. But it seems that my husband has taken on a different view since we moved to a senior residence. He does not ever consider that seeing as we both share the expenses of living here, some money that comes to him should be shared with me. It is impossible to talk to him about it, as he gets very upset and defensive. I only want what I am entitled to. I am not a money grabber, but this is the mood that has taken over our daily lives. Something has to be done about his attitude and possessiveness in order for us to live peacefully and lovingly in our late years. Please help. — Sally
Dear Sally: The fact that this was never an issue until now makes me think it has to do with your move to the senior residence. Perhaps after leaving your former home, your husband feels as if he gave up some control and controlling money is his way of coping — but that’s just speculation. The only way to know for sure why he’s acting this way is to ask. Using a gentle tone, ask why this is important to him. Explain where you’re coming from and why this has been hurtful to you. Discuss any concerns that have been on both your minds about adjusting to the new living situation. Emphasize that you want to spend these years enjoying each other’s company.
You’ve shared a wonderful life together so far. I truly believe this is nothing you two can’t solve using love and communication.
Dear Annie: This is in regard to “Future Benefactor in North Carolina,” who wanted to divide her estate unevenly in accordance with each child’s financial state. I would like to share how that can actually work well.
My husband has three siblings. One of the siblings had not managed to achieve financial stability. All of the money left over after funeral expenses went to the sibling with less, although it was not a large estate. The other siblings were fine with this. Depending on how the two wealthy children of “Future Benefactor” feel, this could work.
On my side, one of my brothers was cut out because Mom was unhappy with him and he had cost my parents some money in a financial deal. My brother never fought it. As the years have gone by since Mom’s death, he has struggled financially. I would have felt better if everything had been divided equally, even if he didn’t manage his inheritance well. It would have felt fairer.
When my mother-in-law’s estate was split unevenly to provide for the one with less, it worked for us. On my side, when it was divided unevenly to “get even,” it was sad. It all depends on motives and how the other parties feel about it. Our own children do not get along well. For this reason, our estate will be split evenly to prevent conflict. — Both a Beneficiary and a Benefactor
Dear Both a Beneficiary and a Benefactor: It’s encouraging to hear about family members working together and helping one another out rather than tearing one another apart over an inheritance. Though I maintain that a good rule is to split the estate evenly among all your children, every family is different. Do what’s right for you and your children.
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