Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 17 years, and we have a blended family. For a long time, I have suggested we make out legal wills to provide for each other. He always has a reason not to do it. I even bought will kits for both of us in order to make it easy. His is still sitting on his desk, right where I put it.
My stepchildren are all adults now. Not long ago, they told me (they didn’t ask) what they want from our house when their dad dies. Some of those items are my family heirlooms, intended for my daughter. This made me nervous. Consequently, I asked my husband to make out a will so I would be protected legally. He insists we don’t have to waste money on attorneys fees because we live in Oregon, a community property state, and all we have to do is write our wishes down on a piece of paper and sign it.
Is that true? I support us because my husband is disabled, though his Social Security supplements our income. We have little savings and no real property. We have a few financial investments, but they don’t amount to much. Our personal possessions make up most of the estate.
I feel insecure without a legal will, especially when his children are already acting like they are entitled to whatever they want. I don’t trust them. The last time I asked him about this, we got into an argument and I told him if he wouldn’t protect me, I wanted a divorce. I’ll happily eat a plate of crow if it is legally binding to write down your wishes on a piece of paper and sign it. — Insecure in Oregon
Dear Oregon: No crow for you. Your husband is wrong. According to the Oregon Attorney General’s Office, Oregon is NOT a community property state. And although your husband can write a will on a napkin, it must be signed, witnessed and notarized in order to be legal. Please contact an estate attorney immediately to be sure both of you are protected.
Dear Annie: My mom and dad were married for 46 years and divorced two years ago. My parents mostly avoid each other. Dad never badmouths my mom, nor does he date. Mom has gone out a few times, but she doesn’t like any of the men she’s met. Her favorite saying is, “Who needs them?” She is a bitter person.
I’d like to fix up my dad with a woman I work with. She’s his age and had an emotionally abusive marriage. My dad loves to have a good time and has a great personality. What do you think? — Sam
Dear Sam: It’s sweet that you want Dad to be happy, but you run a real risk of infuriating your mother. It’s also possible that if things don’t work out, your co-worker will be less than cordial to you. But if you think neither woman will mind (or you don’t care that she does), by all means set Dad up and hope for the best.
Dear Annie: I discovered that the “reverse phone directory” feature allows anyone to put your phone number in the computer and get your complete name and address, including a map to your home. All someone has to do is stand in line behind you at a store and remember your phone number. Would you want some pervert doing this to gain access to your family?
Another thing that bothers me is when newspapers run pictures of kids and print the child’s full name. All newspapers should stop this practice immediately for the kid’s safety. — A Concerned Parent and Grandpa
Dear Parent: How unfortunate that our world has become such a frightening place. Store personnel often request a phone number, but you are not obligated to provide it. And we agree that printing the full names of children in the newspaper can create unanticipated problems. How sad.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger on 10.24.07