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Annie’s Mailbox: He has dementia, kids have his money

Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Ned” for 25 years, and each year it seems to get worse. When we married, he told me I could do whatever I wanted with the house, but he never said I’d be the one paying. The house was barely furnished, the bedding had holes in it, the carpet was a mess, and the curtains were stained. I replaced all of that, but Ned wouldn’t contribute a dime. Aside from being cheap, he never mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or cleaned the garage. He only wanted to fish. I did the maintenance as long as I could, and now we pay someone else to do it.

Here’s the current problem: Ned has dementia and doesn’t realize that his kids have control of his money. His kids have told him he can drive to get his mail. Of course, he then drives all over town. He’s been in three accidents already. I saw a lawyer to get my name removed from the car title in case Ned injures someone. I don’t want to be financially or criminally responsible.

I don’t know how much more I can take. I spend all my money on the upkeep of the house. What can I do? – Second Wife

Dear Wife: Please notify your police department or the Department of Motor Vehicles that Ned has dementia and should not have a driver’s license. Ned’s doctor can help. When Ned is in an accident, do not repair the car unless you need it yourself. Let his kids fix it, or allow the car to become too damaged to run. Talk to your lawyer about Ned’s will. Does he have a health care power of attorney? Who owns the house? Can you stay there if Ned dies? You need to sort this out and see what your options are.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.


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