Mine is a question of fairness:
My dad was the fourth of a farmer’s five children. His grandmother owned their land.
She left everything to my dad's oldest brother - 2000 acres, the farm, and all the pastureland.
He attended university, while my dad, his brother, and two sisters worked the farm.
My uncle founded a successful career and enjoyed a wealthy life. Five years ago, he gave each sibling 1.3 acres. My dad built a small camp on his plot.
My uncle had planned to pass on his land to his children, but they’d have difficulty paying the property taxes.
I want to retain some of the land so that my dad will have access to the lake, which he may lose if the property sells.
How can I convince my wealthy uncle of the value in fairness without harming our relationship?
With property and legal title, some people cling to what they see as theirs alone.
Your uncle acted responsibly (but not with great largesse) by giving away 5.2 acres total of his 2000 acres in appreciation of his siblings’ care of the land.
Now he wants a legacy for his children and likely believes they can sell enough property to afford the taxes and still have substantial holdings.
Convince him of “fairness?” You can only try.
Approach him without demanding or overreacting.
Talk first to an accountant who deals with farmland real estate and get a full understanding of the tax implications plus other issues affecting a decision to hive off some land for one (or each) of the siblings.
Deliver your request to your uncle with knowledge, respect, a son’s sincerity on behalf of his father, and any added appeal such as family history.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man afraid to express his feelings for a female friend (Oct. 27):
“I’m a woman, early-30s, who met a guy who became my best friend at 23.
“We moved in together as room-mates after being close for five years.
“I started to develop feelings, but I knew from his actions and what he’d told his friends, that he had zero interest in that.
“He claimed to be scared to lose me, but I knew I just wasn't what he wanted.
“I never told him how I felt about him.
“In the summer of 2016, he started dating someone seriously. This destroyed me.
“I decided the only thing I could do was tell him the truth. I needed the weight off my chest so I could move on with my life. It worked.
“I wrote him a letter admitting everything. He said he didn’t think he felt that way about me, and that's how the conversation ended.
“I INSTANTLY felt better, regardless of the rejection. I even started dating again, feeling great.
“Four months later, he started realizing that he missed me, more and more. Things ended with him and his girlfriend, and a bit later, also between myself and someone I was seeing.
“We found our feelings were now very mutual. We’re in love, plan to marry soon, and hope for a child.
“While I know this doesn't always work out, I cannot stress enough how much being honest WILL help.
“Even though I was initially rejected by him, telling him the truth (and admitting it myself), helped me move on.
“I didn't want to regret NOT telling him 10 years down the road and never knowing how it would have been.”
My one grandson, 19, suffers from severe agoraphobia, depression, and panic attacks.
His apartment’s provided by his parents.
I’ve given him hundreds of dollars in gift cards for birthdays and Christmas.
Do I keep rewarding him despite no thanks? Are his parents enablers?
If they provide his groceries and clothing, is this being supportive?
I believe he receives no medical help because he doesn't leave his apartment.
It’s time to ask significant questions of the parents out of concern for your grandson’s well-being.
If diagnosed with these serious mental health conditions, he needs ongoing treatment plus a professionally-assessed lifestyle plan.
The parents need encouragement to consider all possible options.
Gratitude for gifts isn’t what’s important, right now. He does need support. But there may be better plans.
Ask his parents what direction they’ve had regarding his future. Your gift money may be better spent on programs to help him towards a better life.
Tip of the day:
With requests regarding family property, be informed and respectful, but not unrealistic.