Originally Published: January 7, 2018 5:55 a.m.
Dear Annie: I have a will that I made out several years ago but needs revising. Seeing as I have no children, I directed that my assets be split evenly among my siblings — or to their descendants, should I outlive one or more sibling. Over the years, I have realized that my nieces and nephews are not all the same. I would like to change things but don’t want to create problems for those remaining, especially the executor.
The majority of the nieces and nephews have worked hard and made nice lives for themselves, although one has a child with medical issues that have been a financial burden to his family. One nephew bounces from one entry-level job to another. Several times a year, he has a setback and asks his parents for money, which they can ill afford to give. If he ever had “extra” money, he’d most likely spend it on something extravagant rather than save it for a rainy day.
I’d like to leave something to each of the nieces and nephews, but not equal shares. I worked hard all my life and built a substantial nest egg, and I don’t like thinking about how certain family members could just blow money that took me many years to accumulate, while others seem more deserving. I am closer to the ones who are doing well. Unfortunately, the nephew whom I’d like to leave the least to is the executor’s child. Should I just split the estate evenly among the nieces and nephews and let the chips fall where they may, seeing as I won’t be around to see the result anyway? — Feeling Torn
Dear Feeling Torn: Though you won’t be around to see the result, passing on your assets is your final act on this earth, so do not let fear of confrontation hamper you. Your sibling who is executor should respect and understand your decision. If he or she takes offense, you can explain that it’s nothing personal and you simply see more of a need in your other nieces and nephews. But you’re not obligated to explain anything. Your will is your own.
Dear Annie: I agree with your advice to “Sink Secret.” There are cleaner ways to save water than treating the sink as a urinal. We have rain barrels for all of our plant and garden watering, and rainwater can be poured in the bowl for toilet flushing if the town water supply has been cut off. But we also catch the water from the shower faucet as it’s warming up and pour that into the toilet tank for flushing. It is also not necessary to flush every time one urinates. In Guatemala and other places where water is conserved, toilet paper is thrown away with paper trash instead of being flushed, and this uses less water and causes fewer plumbing problems. Using a nontoxic cleaner, such as Murphy oil soap, keeps the bathroom smelling nice and the municipal water supply cleaner, too. Good for “Sink Secret” for wanting to save water. I’ll bet his wife does, too.— “Water Is Life” Believer
Dear “Water Is Life” Believer: Thank you for these tips. For more than 100 creative ideas for conserving water, visit https://wateruseitwisely.com.