Q: Our mother passed away four years ago, and our dad has been slowly getting over it. He has been blessed to have many friends in his retirement community to comfort him, and it looks like he found someone special. He's been dating a family friend who has been divorced for several years.
Now Dad is planning to ask her to marry him. Before asking her, he wants to know if we have any concerns.
We think she's wonderful and don't have any objections to them being together. However, we know our parents executed a trust to arrange their assets and distributions. We don't know what legal impact a marriage would have.
We don't have a copy of the trust and don't know the terms and conditions.
Is this the time to discuss it?
A: Yes. One benefit to remarrying later in life is that we know more about the process. Unfortunately, dealing with assets can be complicated.
Talking about estates can prevent future disharmony.
In new relationships, couples' expectations don't always align. It's vital to consider legal issues beforehand. Wills are complicated by relatives, contributions to charity, pets and a variety of other things.
A new marriage will add another complication. She may have family with the same considerations. Additionally, her prior divorce likely gave her some perspective on marriage.
Meet with your dad's lawyer, and become aware of the details of settling an estate. Make sure to ask about who the executors are, as well as what the associated timing, costs and taxes will be.
Estates and marriages can be tricky to talk about because they mix emotion and finances. Be mindful about how you bring up your concerns. — Doug
Q: Dealing with my impatience has been my life's work. I am naturally intolerant and irritable but realize that it often causes friction with the people I care about. I try to be more understanding of other people, but it doesn't always come easily.
I've been thinking a lot about this, as my husband will be retiring at the end of the year. He has always been very driven, but his drive has been closely tied to his work. Based on the things he's saying, I think he's looking forward to the slow life at home for a while.
Although we have been married for 35 years, he still has some habits that drive me nuts! I don't know how much we might get on each other's nerves once we're spending all our time together.
Do you have any perspective on how our relationship will change?
A: A huge life change like retirement can be positive or negative — but it all depends on your attitude. It seems like your planning is leading you to fear the worst and take it out on others.
Remember that your husband is the same man you married and love. Although retirement demands we change our lives, your husband still has the same qualities that drew you to him.
Even if your husband seems to be looking forward to kicking back, he may not know what to do with himself. Many men idealize the idea of retirement but don't know what to do with themselves once they do it. It can be a huge culture shock!
We are never done with learning new things, and growing together with a spouse can be a rewarding experience. Many couples find themselves discovering new things about their partner even after decades of knowing each other.
Space in any relationship is also important. It can be useful to have a private space for when you start to get on each other's nerves. After recharging, we're often better at managing our frustration.
Don't start off on the wrong foot by visualizing the worst-case scenario. You have a lot to look forward to! — 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.