Dear Annie: When my ex-husband died three years ago, we found a copy of his mother’s will, which stated that her entire estate would go to him, and if he died before her, to our son. In August, however, we discovered there was another will leaving everything to my son’s aunt, who was appointed executrix. She had power of attorney for many years, and now we can’t find any information on what should have gone to my son.
My son and I are on disability and can’t afford a lawyer. Legal Aid does not handle estates. My son’s grandparents loved him very much, and as he is the only grandchild, I know his grandmother would not have done this willingly. Where can we go for help?
— Heartbroken in Apalachin, N.Y.
Dear Heartbroken: A little legwork will allow you to get some information. If Grandma left everything to your ex-husband, once she died, he was entitled to leave it to whomever he chose. If your ex died before Grandma, the money should have gone to your son. If you think there were two competing wills, you can go to the court in the city where your mother-in-law lived and research to see if there was a probate proceeding. That will tell you which will was accepted by the court. At that point, you will need legal assistance to take it further, but you may be able to find a lawyer who will take your case on a contingency basis.
Dear Annie: I am currently engaged to an exotic dancer, and we recently found out she is pregnant. Times are tough right now, and this is the problem: I was laid off but receive unemployment while I search for a new job. My fiancee recently told me she wants to dance more and in different venues to gain the much-needed money.
I cannot stand her job. It makes me ill. But she is a loving woman, and I want to stick by her side. Next year, we are hoping to move to a state with more opportunities for work, but right now, this is a great challenge. I am stumped about what I should do
— Dancer’s King
Dear King: Pregnancy usually creates its own limitations for dancing, particularly the exotic kind. Your girlfriend should first check with her obstetrician to make sure what she does will not affect the baby. Then you must discuss with her whether she is willing to stop dancing as her pregnancy progresses and after the baby is born. If money is an issue, she can look for jobs in less-upsetting fields. Otherwise, this problem will be a continuing source of conflict.
Dear Annie: Thank you for printing the letter from “Concerned Aunt,” whose nephew is an ex-offender looking for work.
The United States locks up a larger percent of its population than any other country in the world. Most will be released at some point. Too many employers will not hire them, and landlords will not rent to them. We must find ways of incorporating ex-offenders into society because we cannot afford to continue returning them to prison. Warehousing so many people in prisons squanders our tax dollars and ruins salvageable lives and families.
The respected Pew Research Center for the States says more than one in every 100 people in the U.S. is behind bars. Many of their friends and families are among your readers. I hope you will often answer questions concerning incarceration issues.
— Palmdale, Calif.
Dear Palmdale: We believe it is incredibly shortsighted to make it so difficult for ex-offenders to get jobs. It only encourages recidivism, which hurts all of us. Every state should provide help so those who have served their time can become productive and self-supporting citizens. And we admire and congratulate those companies willing to hire them.