Dear Gwendolyn:

Two years ago I made out a new will leaving my possessions to my great-niece. I built an addition to my house so that she and her husband would be able to live with me. I charge no rent and provide their food and clothing. Besides all that, I bought a car for my great-niece and bought a car for her husband.


This is the problem: I was recently diagnosed with a terminal disease. After taking many treatments doctors now say they see no lesions. My great-niece was happy for me, but her husband quickly made his feelings known. He came into my bedroom in the early hours of the morning and said, “I sure thought you would be dead by now.”

After telling my great-niece she agreed that I should not leave my house and other possessions to her. She informed me they were having marital problems. She plans to divorce him. I hate to go through the change. Gwendolyn, let me know what you think I should do?

Dear Jeanie:

I know and respect the fact you are considering the financial well- being of your great-niece, but think about it. Too often a man seeks a woman with wealth or one who will inherit wealth. Sometimes the old days of two people falling in love living happy ever after doesn’t happen. Today’s relationships are based too heavily on worldly possessions and people want them now—as Malcolm X said, “by any means necessary.” This is my suggestion to you: Spend your money. I mean really spend your money. There is a strong possibility your great-niece will not divorce. And if she does, she can receive whatever you leave to her, but don’t concentrate on what you want for her by neglecting what you need for yourself.

(Do you have a son or grandson age 10-17? Help him to choose college—not jail. Order DECISIONS In The Life Of A Growing Male Youth. To order go to website: or write to her at: P.O. Box 10066, Raleigh, N.C. 27605-0066 (to receive a reply send a self-addressed stamped envelope) or e-mail her at: If you have a problem? “Ask Gwendolyn Baines.”)

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