Dear Abby: Man talks about his will but won’t put it in writing

Advice column

Dear Abby: I have been married to my husband for seven years. We are in our 60s. He refuses to make a will. He tells me what he “would” put in his will and asks me if I am OK with his wishes.

He has an adult child from his first marriage and would like to include her in the will. I’m fine with what he wants. This conversation has been going on for more than five years now, but he never acts on it. I am very hurt and frustrated.

The house is in his name, and my name isn’t even on his checking accounts. I resent him for this. There are times when I want to get a divorce because I feel if something should happen to him, I will have no security. I also think he is being selfish and unloving to me and his adult child to leave us in a situation where we would have to go through the probate process. Please help me to get through to him.

Resentful in Maine

Dear Resentful: Your husband may be afraid to face the idea of his own mortality. He wouldn’t be the first. The two of you need to make an appointment with an attorney who specializes in wills and estates. If he doesn’t put his wishes in writing, the assets he has worked so hard for may be seriously diminished when the state decides “for him” and takes a sizable chunk out of the estate.

While you are talking with the lawyer, there should also be a discussion of end-of-life planning. Does he want hospice? Palliative care? Do you know what his wishes are in the event he is unable to speak for himself? Those wishes should be in writing and so should YOURS. (This subject should also be raised with your doctor(s).)

Most people want to keep what they have worked for and decide for themselves what will happen when they die. Death is a fact of life, and hiding from it won’t make it go away.

Dear Abby: I send out lots of greeting cards every year for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. I keep a large number of them on hand so I am prepared.

I received a Christmas card this year from an elderly family member that said: “Thank you for the insulting anniversary card.” “Insulting” was underlined twice. I was dismayed. Their anniversary was last August. I have no idea which card I sent since I keep so many on hand. I am guessing it may have been a humorous card that they didn’t find funny, but I’m not sure.

Both are very alert and oriented. What is the proper thing to do here? Do I call them and apologize when I have no idea what it said? Should I not send an anniversary card next year or send a very generic one? I have been very upset that my good wishes were so poorly received. Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Confused in the Midwest

Dear Confused: Call the couple and ASK what it was about the card that upset them. Explain that it wasn’t your intention to offend them, and apologize. DO send an anniversary card when the time comes, but when you do, make absolutely certain the message inside is appropriate.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.