Ask Goldie - January 2010

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

I hesitate to take issue with you, but feel your November column does not respond adequately to O.L.’s problem when a previous fiancé meets her again many years later and wishes to renew their relationship.

Granted, O.L. was jilted, but wars do impact people’s lives, especially those facing danger and loneliness far from home. They can result in heartbreak and more. Granted, too, that she has neither forgotten nor forgiven but, since she enjoyed his company, I question why the possibility of rapprochement and other options was not considered before suggesting alternative ways to deal with loneliness and a possible new relationship.

The problem is far too complex to be resolved without more information (was there contrition? The whys and hows of the divorce, what sort of life had he led since then? Even what is meant by relationship - it is not necessarily marriage, and exploration of O.L.’s current life).

Perhaps this is the difficulty in a brief column.

Sincerely, D.H.

Dear D.H.

Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head. It is impossible to indicate resolution to a difficult problem in a confined space. Occasionally, problems can only be dealt with in a clinical counselling session, as I have stated in previous columns.

I do have to condense my answers. However, when problems are multiple and serious, I reflect on them from various viewpoints before replying. In this particular case, I contacted the client, and I assure you all possibilities you mention were explored.

As you state, my “November column does not respond adequately” and perhaps this was not a suitable topic for condensation. Thank you for expressing your concern. I will keep it in mind.


Dear Goldie:

I read with interest the letter in the October 2009 issues of the *Senior Living* magazine from W.S. expressing concerns about the issue of dividing “non-titled” property, a dilemma shared by many seniors.

Several years ago, when I retired and researched the same issue, I sourced some research and writings from a cross-section of authors. I ended up putting together a short workshop that I have offered several times at places where seniors gather. The workshop is a discussion stimulated by an excellent practical workbook, which I found in the U.S. and which can be used in a self-guided process. I have an extra copy that I can send to W.S. ($20 postage included - the manual retails for $12.50 US, plus postage of $6.50 US). If it is not useful to her, I will gladly buy it back.

One of the authors of the manual writes:

“Almost everyone has personal belongings such as wedding photographs, a baseball glove, a pie plate, a clock or jewelry that contain meaning for them and for other members of their family. What we’ve learned by listening to families and attorneys is that often the non-titled property is what creates the greatest challenges for families when estates are divided - not the money. When doing real estate planning, families too often talk about the house or the investments; but they forget to plan ahead or discuss personal possessions.”

One of the examples given was:

“Just before Anna Krueger was about to enter a nursing home at the age of 85, she held a family gathering to discuss who should gather personal belongings. With each of her four children gathered, Anna shared family history and stories that went with the important possessions in her life, wishes were expressed, and decisions made. When Anna died six months later, her children not only held onto her possessions, but they also cherished the stories of her life. By making inheritance decisions ahead of time (about non-titled possessions), Anna also prevented disagreements about who should receive what items.”

I hope this is helpful.

Sincerely, A.G.

Dear A.G.

Thank you for the information regarding the manual workshop for seniors who are involved with dividing non-titled personal property. This certainly is a troublesome issue, especially in large families. It is truly amazing to discover what some descendants deem valuable when grandparents or great-grandparents die.

I am quite sure some senior groups wishing to hold a workshop for their members will contact you. Their volunteers are asked to help elderly clients with these concerns and this manual could prevent many headaches and even lasting feuds in their families.





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Showing 1 to 1 of 1 comments.

In your article above, A. G. mentions a book. I would like to buy a copy of this book as I doubt that I would have access to any of her workshops.I would also be interested in any books you could recomend on being an executor of a will, as my mother just passed away and left a sketchy will. Thank you Lois Fisk

Posted by Lois Fisk | January 15, 2010 Report Violation

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