Lawyers: Dispute over Van Gogh art in Detroit is settled

Dear Abby: Mom on fixed income supports a house full of freeloaders

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My grandson, his girlfriend and, recently, my son (who had to move in) are living with me. She is the only one working. My grandson has been sitting on his butt the last 2 1/2 years and does minimal work here in my home. All three of these “adults” live here for free. I am 79 and on a fixed income. I pay for everything.

They were supposed to be saving money so they could get a place of their own. That’s a big joke. All they do is spend, spend, spend. They sleep all day and play games on their computers all night. I have seriously considered shutting off the internet (which I pay for) to see what they would do.

I have been talking to a counselor due to my stress and anger issues. The counselor has strongly advised me to evict them. My daughter told me if I do, I’ll never see her or my two young grandchildren again. She means it.

I’m tired of being the caregiver. I feel used, but can’t set boundaries very well. I’m also afraid of my 24-year-old grandson, who has terrible anger issues and who put his fist through a wall when I called him lazy. Should I put them out or, to keep peace in the family, continue to let them use me?

— Used Up

Dear Used Up: There will never be peace in your family as long as you allow yourself to be held hostage by threats and intimidation. Your anger and boundary issues will resolve themselves if you act on the advice your therapist is giving you and evict these parasites.

First, discuss this with a lawyer to see what steps you must take, and because you fear your grandson will become violent, you may need help from the authorities to guarantee your safety from him when he goes. As to your daughter, I predict she’ll keep the grandchildren from you only until she needs something — so be prepared. And please, continue talking to your therapist, who seems to have more of your interests at heart than your family members.

Dear Abby: My wife and I are in our mid-40s with two kids (9 and 6). We are in the early stages of our estate planning, and of course the topic of who would look after our kids has been discussed.

Our first choice has lovingly agreed to have our kids join their family if my wife and I should die. However, many estate planning forms ask if there is a secondary option on who we want to be our children’s guardians in case our primary choice can no longer fulfill that role. How do we tactfully ask our second choice if they are willing to be the backup? I worry that the couple may be offended that they aren’t No. 1, and this may cause tension and seriously damage our relationship with them.

— Parents In A Predicament

Dear Parents: Do not offer apologies or explanations unless you must. Simply ask the backups if they would be willing to step in “should the need arise.” If you are pressed about why they are not your first choice, answer honestly. Your reasons should be respected. This is not a popularity contest; it is a serious consideration for the future of your children.

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