Q. This is a problem I know my family will have pretty soon. My mother married my stepfather, “Skip,” after my father died 19 years ago. My stepfather had eight children before they got married, so I have eight stepsiblings. My mom passed away a few years ago.
Three of Skip’s sons won’t speak to him or visit because he gave his daughter power of attorney and they were very upset by that. Anyway, the problem now is that Skip doesn’t want his sons at his funeral at all. Besides these three sons, he has another son and four daughters. And he has told all five of them to make sure the other three aren’t there.
My question is: What can be done to get them to stay away at the funeral without causing a problem and without getting the law involved? Please help me to tell them how to fix this. – Very Unhappy
A. You can try keeping the location of the service a secret and let all invited guests know to keep the address to themselves because it’s a private event. If the service is being held on private property, you can explain the situation to the owners and ask for their assistance in keeping out unwanted guests, who would technically be trespassing.
All that said, the onus is on the three brothers to respect their father’s final wishes. Should they manage to attend the funeral, keep the focus off them and on remembering and celebrating the life of your stepfather.
Dear Annie: I just read your column with the letter from “Sad and Over It, With Empty Pockets.” It was about a deadbeat son’s not paying his parents back for a student loan. I almost fell off my chair. That is almost the same situation I am in.
About nine years ago, I co-signed a student loan for my granddaughter. She promised to pay it back. She said she really wanted to attend this expensive school. After about seven months, she quit. She has not made a payment in almost two years. The balance owed is a little over $10,000.
I get collection calls daily. I explain that I am on Social Security and have low income. They don’t care. I sent my granddaughter a letter stating that she has to do something. She told me she isn’t working and has two kids to take care of. I tell her to call the agency and arrange to make interest payments. She refuses.
I thought about calling an attorney but was worried that her mother (my daughter) would be upset with me. Well, after reading your reply to “Sad and Over It, With Empty Pockets,” I will be calling an attorney this week. Thank you, Annie. You have been a great help to me. – Empty Pockets, Too
Dear Empty Pockets, Too: I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself. I hope the attorney’s letter straightens your granddaughter out and you’re made whole. Remember that assertiveness is not cruelty; it’s merely self-respect.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.