Q: My heart has been getting progressively worse, and I know that my time here will be up in the next few years. I've been thinking to the future, and part of that involves me trying to put my affairs in order. The one major task left is to revise my will.
I have three great children who've all grown up successfully and who have their own families. The oldest one is 8 years older than the youngest, and they grew up with different financial situations as my wife and I settled into our own lives.
Our eldest son definitely got the short end of the stick and didn't get many of the same benefits of his siblings — for example, we weren't able to pitch in much for his schooling or wedding. Adjusting the terms of my will to accommodate for those differences seems like the right fix, but my friends told me to think long and hard before making that decision.
What's the fair thing to do?
A: No relationship in your life can be exactly the same as another. One of the major pitfalls of having more than one child is the impossibility of treating them equally, what with their different interests, needs and ages. We all try to do as best we can.
There is often no fair way to split up an estate. Many belongings are not valued in terms of money but instead sentimental value, and that value varies for each child! Dealing with cash can be easier but also fraught.
One major gift you can give to all of your children is family cohesion, by trying to be as fair as possible. Constructing your inheritance in a way that seems unfair builds resentment and can ruin relationships.
Ultimately, the decision is yours. Only you know the best way to apportion your inheritance according to a variety of factors. Some of the major ones include fairness, need and meaningful value.
In cases where it seems unfair, be transparent. Explain your decisions to your children. They may come to understand your choice, or perhaps bring up things you haven't considered.
At the end of the day, think it over and go with your heart. Do what seems fair to you. — Doug
GETTING AROUND TOWN
Q: I was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease years ago, and the swelling is getting in the way of my life. My legs have been killing me even when walking around town. I think it's time to look into getting a wheelchair.
Where should I start?
A: The first questions to ask yourself are about your medical coverage: Do you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid? Will your insurance apply to a wheelchair?
If your answer is yes, use your provider as a jumping-off point. See which wheelchairs are covered or recommended.
To compare costs, consider whether you'd like to buy, or perhaps rent, your wheelchair. Depending on the financing available and how often you'd need the chair, renting might make sense.
While you're exploring your options, ask your doctor — he or she could give you recommendations and maybe source it with a discount. Doctors see these requests frequently and have already done the research for you.
If you'd prefer to look around some more, there are many websites that can help you narrow down a price range and other specifications. Many large retailers carry a wide range of items; you shouldn't have any problems finding one that works for you. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.