Dear Annie: Estate planning is unpleasant
Dear Annie: After a difficult life, I was fortunate to meet and marry the perfect man. He is everything I dreamed of and more. We are blessed with a daughter, who is now doing well at a prestigious university.
Our now-empty nest has been nice and intimate. I was a stay-at-home mom during our daughter’s school days, and since our girl went away to college, I have been a stay-at-home wife, supporting my husband the best I can and doing my best to make the few hours he has away from work enjoyable and happy.
But there is one problem we have. He refuses to talk about making plans for how our affairs should be taken care of upon our death. He is in his late 50s, and I am in my 60s. We both are blessed with good health, but I know we will not live forever. But anytime the subject comes up, he shuts down and goes to bed without any discussion. To his credit, he is always short of sleep because of his career, which he is passionate about and I support.
He is so generous and dedicated, but this is one subject he will not deal with. We have no will or trust, but I get the feeling he would be fine with anything I would want to arrange financially. As far as what to do with our bodies upon death goes, though, that’s something we would need to decide on together. Even though I am older than he is, my family has a history of living long, and his family does not. And there is always a possibility we will go at the same time in some kind of accident. I wouldn’t want my grieving daughter to have to decide what to do with our bodies on top of everything else she would have to deal with. I love this man so much, but I don’t know what to do about this. How can I handle this? — Very Happy Family
Dear Happy: Marriage makes life a tag-team sport. Estate planning isn’t one of your husband’s strong suits, whether it’s because he simply feels too tired to face such a big task or he’s uncomfortable with the subject of death. Fortunately, you seem equipped to tackle this challenge on behalf of you both.
Tell your husband that you’ll prepare a draft of the will and that he can simply sign off on it or make revisions before it’s finalized. My guess is that he’ll be relieved. Once the will is behind you, you’ll have the peace of mind to enjoy the rest of your lives together even more.
Dear Annie: I’m a 75-year-old retired teacher. It doesn’t bother me when a store clerk calls me “honey.” I’m fine when the young woman who works in my husband’s nursing home refers to me as “dear.” If the receptionist at my hair salon greets me with “sweetie,” no problem. The waitress at my favorite lunch counter often says, “Hi, love. What are we going to have today?” I smile and give her my order. I can’t understand why so many older women make a kerfuffle about nothing. You can call me “honey” anytime. - Bonnie in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Dear Bonnie: Your laid-back attitude is refreshing — but I assure you, it isn’t just women making kerfuffles.
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