I am 47 years old, and my fiance is 50. We both have been married before. I have no children, but "Ben" has a daughter from his previous marriage. Ben has told me that when he dies, his entire estate goes to "Sandra." She is happily married, has a good job and is financially secure. Ben said any assets we acquire after our marriage would be left to me.
I'm not happy about this, to put it mildly. I see potential problems ahead, particularly since Sandra seems to be his top priority. I have few assets of my own and have struggled financially since my divorce.
I hope you will rush your advice, because Ben is pressing for a wedding date, and I see red flags waving at every turn. Ben knows I have a wealthy uncle who is 98 years old and that I will probably inherit some of his estate, but there are several nieces and nephews in my family, and the estate may not be as large as Ben thinks.
I love this man, but those red flags keep blowing in my face. I need an objective opinion. How about it?
-- Second in Richmond
See a lawyer and have a prenuptial agreement drawn up as soon as possible. Be clear about what you want should Ben die before you, so there will be no surprises later. Even if Ben decides to leave his entire estate to Sandra, he should be willing to set up a trust allowing you to live in the house until your death.
Ben's daughter is going to get top consideration, so expect it. A second wife who has produced no children does not carry a lot of weight at the bargaining table. (P.S. Don't quit your day job.)
In the last year, helmet sales have increased dramatically in Myrtle Beach, S.C., since my 16-year-old son, Matt, died from a massive trauma to the brain. He was skateboarding. His skateboard slipped from under him, he hit his head on the sidewalk, and never regained consciousness. He was on life support for two days in the neuro-trauma unit.
Matt had been skateboarding for four years and loved it. He was well liked and always smiling -- a very happy kid. That father who told his sons that helmets are for sissies is crazy. I hope he will never know the gut-wrenching anguish of burying a child. Death is forever. Helmets save lives. Keep telling them, Ann.
-- Dianne Arrington Hughes Douglas,
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
I hope that father sees your letter. It would open his eyes and close his mouth. Because you wrote, some lives may be saved.
Skateboarding should be permitted only in areas where there is no traffic. It is impossible to control a skateboard on a downward slope, and a skateboarder who heads into a busy street is risking his life. Thanks for an important letter.
Here's another story to add to those you have received about the silly things husbands do. One day I opened our freezer door and found a robin lying on its back, feet straight up in the air -- stone-cold dead, of course. When I screamed, my husband came running into the kitchen. He explained that the robin had somehow gotten into our chimney, and when he opened the fireplace doors to free the bird, the robin flew out and crashed into a window, dying on impact. My husband didn't want to throw the bird out for fear the cat would get it, so he froze the poor thing. Needless to say, I tossed out everything in the freezer and disinfected the interior, but I am still more than a little queasy every time I open that door.
-- Troy, Mich.
(C) 1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.