DEAR AMY: My grandfather is well-off. He saved and spent very little throughout his life. For many years, he has promised my mother and me that we would receive a sizable inheritance. My grandmother died several years ago, and we are the only close family members he has left. A few months ago, my grandfather began seeing a younger woman. My mom and I were supportive. They married just a few weeks ago and seem very happy together. However, my grandfather recently called Mom and me and informed us that we were no longer his heirs. He's decided to leave everything to his new wife! Amy, I don't feel entitled to his money. I don't care if I get the money or not. I am more worried about my mother. She lives on a very meager income, and I know she was counting on the inheritance from her father so she could think about retiring herself. Now, she is depressed and thinks she will have to work herself to death. I'm not in a much better situation myself, and I do not have the means to help Mom on my own. Meanwhile, my grandfather and his new wife are constantly sending us pictures of their luxurious vacations. They also recently bought themselves a second home. To be clear, I do not believe my grandfather's new wife is a gold-digger. She seems to genuinely love him and, being a member of a well-off family herself, she doesn't need his money. This seems to be purely my grandfather's decision. Would it be out of line to approach my grandfather to ask him to consider reinstating Mom as an heir? I don't care what he does with me, but this has really upset her.
DEAR CONCERNED: Your grandfather might have made this decision as a way to show his wife just after marriage how much he loves her and that he is proud to declare her as his next of kin. (They also might have a pre-nup.)
His motivation might have been more emotional than practical (or punitive).
Yes, I do think you should speak to him about it.
Make sure you reflect your positive reaction to his marriage: "I'm so happy that you have found such a wonderful partner. Shelly is such a nice addition to our family. I understand that you love one another and that you are thoroughly committed to each other. I also accept that you absolutely have the right to do whatever you wish with your will. I'm glad that you informed mother and me about your intentions. However, I feel the need to advocate for Mom..."
Describe her situation honestly. Repeat that you understand and respect his right to do what he wants to do, but ask him to also consider these other factors in his estate planning.
DEAR AMY: I am an older woman, an introvert, who has kept diaries, journals and notes my whole life. And naturally, in them I "let my hair down." Now it is time for me to destroy them — I wouldn't want anyone to find them after I'm gone. Unfortunately, they are in various plastic-bound, hard cardboard or spiral books. I have no idea how to dispose of them, and there are a ton of them. The thought of having to extricate the paper from the covers is overwhelming. One thing I guess I could do is take a few at a time and wrap them in black plastic and put them in the garbage and hope no one finds them. Do you have a better suggestion?
DEAR OVERWHELMED: If you are absolutely sure you want to do this, you should think about shredding.
If you don't want to purchase a shredder and separate the paper from the bindings to do this at home, there are professional shredding companies that will send a truck to your location and do this onsite as you watch.
Some companies I researched advertise that they will shred books.
DEAR AMY: The letter from the (divorced) "Sad Mom" told my story. Her youngest son wouldn't call on her birthday or Mother's Day. This line jumped out at me: "He is actually showing how he feels about himself." That is so true! Her son could be grieving the divorce. I too did not receive any sign from my son on birthdays, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc. I never pushed him, because grieving takes time. It took my son three years!
DEAR PATIENT: Patience often works better than pushing.