Dear Jeanne and Leonard: Should I evict my son? Years ago, I bought two townhouses, one for my daughter to live in and one for my son. They’re both adults, they both work and they’re both supposed to pay rent, rent that’s well below market. About three years ago, my son – without explanation – stopped speaking to everyone in the family. Around the same time, his rent began arriving late, and sometimes he doesn’t pay at all. Now I’ve received a letter from the homeowners association advising me that they’ve been getting repeated complaints about late-night party noise coming from my son’s unit and putting me on notice. I want to boot him out and be done with all the headaches, but my wife thinks we shouldn’t be so tough with him. Who’s right?
– Sick of It
Dear Sick of It: Maybe your wife should try sleeping in the unit adjoining your son’s. That might wake her up to the seriousness of the problem.
We’re sorry that your son has estranged himself from his family, and we’re sorry that he’s responding to your generosity with such indifference. But you and your wife can’t allow the heartache his conduct must be causing you to distract you from the responsibility you have to the other homeowners to put a stop to the noise coming from the unit you own. If evicting your son is what it takes to restore peace and quiet, so be it.
Once you’ve gotten the noise problem resolved, you and your wife can try to work on your relationship with your son. In the meantime, though, it won’t hurt him to learn that his inconsiderate behavior has consequences.
Dear Jeanne and Leonard: I happily accepted an invitation to the out-of-state wedding of good friends. But now I’ve also been invited to a reception for the couple here at home. I’d like to go, but I’m wondering: Would attending that second reception obligate me to give my friends a second gift?
– Marcy, Buffalo
Dear Marcy: The purpose of a wedding present is to celebrate a marriage and to honor the bride and groom. Since your friends are only getting married once, only one gift is called for.
Dear Jeanne and Leonard: My husband and I had wills drawn up 30 years ago, back when we lived in another state and owned little more than our cars. The wills simply state that our possessions are to go to each other, or, if we’re both gone, to our two children, each of whom is named in the documents. Since the wills were written, we’ve had another child, and “Mick” (my husband) has built a successful business. I’ve repeatedly asked Mick to have a lawyer update our wills so that our third child and the business are taken into account. But Mick says he was assured that the existing wills would always work. What should I do? I’m worried about what could happen if one of us dies, but Mick can be pretty stubborn.
– D.S., Kansas City
Dear D.S.: Stubborn? How about foolish and irresponsible?
Fortunately, nothing says you need Mick to update your will. So find an estates-and-trusts attorney; show him or her the document; explain how your family’s circumstances have changed; and ask if your will should be revised or rewritten to address those changes.
Assuming it should – and reasons for an update could range from addressing the issues you raised to minimizing estate taxes – tell your husband what you’ve learned. Hopefully, hearing the consequences of not revising his will will prompt him to take action. But even if it doesn’t, have the lawyer prepare a new will for you. Some protection is better than none.
Please email your questions about money and relationships to Questions@MoneyManners.net.