Annie Lane: Condo Conundrum

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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Dear Annie: Thank you for the wise advice that you give to your readers. I have often taken your advice and applied it to my situation in life. But this is a new issue for me.

A dear friend of mine died a couple of years ago (not of COVID-19). She faced death pragmatically and fearlessly. Having managed the at-home care of her parents when they were in failing health, using paid caregivers, she told me she had directed her brother to sell her condo and donate the proceeds to a charity that helps families by providing subsidies to keep unhealthy adults in their own homes.

I recently learned that her brother is renting out that condo instead of selling it as she wished. Perhaps he has made a donation to his sister’s chosen charity from other sources of money and has honored his sister’s wishes in that way. Perhaps he is ignoring her wishes.

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Do you think I should dare to ask my friend’s brother why my friend’s condo is being rented and not sold? I risk losing a friendly relationship with that man and his wife, who I also know and see more often. They may not know why my friend ever mentioned the matter to me. I certainly have no proof of her conversation with me.

Loyalty to my friend and to her intentions for her “estate” is my only motivation. I have thought of asking the charity if they have received any money after my friend’s death. The condo was worth hundreds of thousands, and my friend said she was happy to donate that much because if her parents had lingered longer, the funds for them would have run out. But I do not know the name of the charitable organization that she intended to give the money to.

Please help me discern the right thing to do here.

— In a Quandary

Dear In a Quandary: I am really sorry for your loss. You sound like a wonderful and loyal friend. You could mention it to her brother but not in a confrontational way — more like, “Did you know that those were her wishes?” If he ignores you or says it’s none of your business, then, because she left it to her brother and not to you, I would say take a step back and let it go. You could also make a donation in her name with your own money to honor her, if you are able to track down a similar charity or remember the name.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been invited over to dinner with two couples we’ve just become friends with. My concern with eating at other people’s houses is that I have a strict diet that I stick to. I’ve lost 30 pounds over the last six months by cutting out fried foods and processed foods.

I don’t want to be rude if they serve food that I can’t eat.

Should I say something ahead of time to the hostess? I don’t want her to make anything special for me, but I don’t want her to be offended if I don’t eat what’s served.

What is the best way to handle this?

— Picky Eater

Dear Picky Eater: Yes, communication is key. The hostess wants you and her guests to enjoy the dinner, so if you have special dietary restrictions, she will want to know. Just be clear from the beginning so there are no surprises.

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