June 21, 2024
Plus: We moved away and ended up disinherited.

Dear Amy: I have many wedding pictures from my son’s first marriage. I am trying to organize all of these pictures so that I can give them to my grandchildren after my (hopefully distant) demise.

My problem is that a lot of these pictures contain images of his ex-wife.

I’m pretty sure I should replace the framed portraits around the house with the pictures of him with his new spouse. But what about all the other pictures?

I don’t want to get rid of any of them; after all, she is the mother of my grandchildren. (We have a somewhat distant but cordial relationship.)

I want to be fair to her, and I want to be respectful of the feelings and role of his current wife. I also want to be considerate of the feelings of my son and the grandchildren.

So how should I handle the pictures?

Should I check with my son first and see what he wants me to do? I’m wondering if he would like me to just “kick the can” down a generation or two and give everyone all the copies and let them decide for themselves whether to cull or keep.

Or should I be a revisionist and just delete all the pictures that have the ex in them?

You decide, because I’m …

– Uncertain

Dear Uncertain: Yes, display framed photos of your son and his current wife in your home.

No, don’t delete anything, and don’t make multiple copies of all of these photos.

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And, yes, leave photos from your son’s first wedding for your heirs to go through after your (hopefully distant) demise.

These long-ago photos will take on a different resonance down the road, and you should perhaps imagine your grandchildren going through them together and enjoying the process as they make decisions about what to keep, copy, share and cull.

Dear Amy: Two years ago, my father-in-law called to inform his son (my husband) that he was being disinherited because, in my father-in-law’s words, we “don’t need the inheritance.”

He stated that his daughter who lives with him and takes full-time care of him would receive his money.

Seven years ago, we moved away from the area to be closer to our grandkids. Prior to our move we fully participated in both of my husband’s parents’ care and occasionally helped to support his sister. This was beneficial for her, as she did not have a job or a home.

Admittedly, she does need his money (and we don’t), but I cannot get over the hurt of being cut out. Two years later, it still bothers me.

Any advice?

– Sad D-I-L

Dear Sad: The word “disinherited” takes on a particular meaning because it sounds as if your husband was due to inherit part of the estate, and now he is being denied because of some specific behavior on his part or because the relationship with his father has deteriorated.

If your father-in-law used this specific word to describe his actions, then perhaps it fits. But from your description it sounds as if the elder man is making his plans and has decided to direct his money toward the child who has spent the last many years in many ways – earning it.

This daughter is receiving room and board, but she is also providing care that has a substantial monetary value. (Oftentimes, parents and siblings will actually compensate an adult child for providing full-time care to an elder parent.)

If the daughter inherits some money, this would help to provide for her into her own elder years, sparing your husband the worry (and possible expense) of taking this on.

Importantly, this is your husband’s issue, not yours. Inherited money is not necessarily considered a shared marital asset, in that the inheritor is not legally obligated to share an inheritance with a spouse.

You don’t describe how your husband feels about this, but if he has made his peace with this decision, then you should, too.

Dear Readers: Have you ever had your question published in the “Ask Amy” column? Did you follow the advice I offered, or reject my response?

I, along with readers, would love to find out how things turned out for you.

Previously published “Updates” from readers have been very popular, and I’d be happy to run more of these “what happened next” stories in future columns.

If you have a story to share, contact me at [email protected]. Write “Update” in the subject line, and I’ll get back in touch.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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