Column: Children cut off stepmother with dad’s power of attorney

Published 10:05 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

DEAR ABBY: This letter is for women who have stepchildren or are considering marriage to a man with children. My second marriage of 20 years is in limbo with no closure. My three adult stepchildren took my husband away from our home two years ago. He was having some cognitive dementia, but we were doing well in our home. After a fall, everything came apart. To make a long story short, I was naive about legal issues and discovered he had named his children as powers of attorney with no plans for me.

I have not had a visit or phone call in months because his kids will not allow it unless they are present. Our home was jointly shared and the court has ordered me to maintain it with no financial assistance from my husband as I live here. He has been shuttling back and forth between his son and daughter and is presently living in another state.

Abby, I encourage any woman who is considering remarriage to take great care of important legal matters for their well-being in case stepchildren try to “kill” the marriage and take over. I have experienced the ups and downs that go along with abandonment, depression and absence of closure. I am grateful for my family and friends for their love and support. With God’s help and prayers, I am still hanging in there. Ladies, beware! — SURVIVING ALONE

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DEAR SURVIVING: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your husband. It is tragic. Sadly, you are not the only woman I have heard of this happening to; I know one personally. This is why I, too, urge anyone, female or male, who is going into a second marriage to be conscious of the legal ramifications and end-of-life planning and to do it with the help of an attorney.


DEAR ABBY: My acupuncturist and staff are all bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Almost always while I’m sitting in the waiting room, the staff will converse with one another in Spanish like they’re the only ones in the room.

Once, a patient came in, and the receptionist didn’t recognize the person. She asked the patient her name in English. Once the receptionist realized she knew the patient and the patient spoke Spanish, the remainder of the conversation was in Spanish despite the fact that the woman spoke clear English.

Another time, one of the staff pointed to something on the receptionist’s computer screen and spoke in Spanish to the receptionist, and I could see she was showing the receptionist how to do something on the computer. In addition, if any of the staff needs to speak with the doctor during my treatment, Spanish is spoken.

I feel the only time the staff should speak Spanish is when a patient doesn’t speak or understand English. What do you think about this? — DON’T UNDERSTAND IN FLORIDA

DEAR DON’T: What I think is that you should address your concerns to the person whose acupuncture practice it is. Explain that it makes you feel uncomfortable and isolated when his or her employees do this in front of you. And if you are not satisfied with the response you receive, change acupuncturists.


A GENTLE REMINDER TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: Tonight wee witches and goblins will be out trick-or-treating. Please supervise them closely so they’ll be safe. Happy Halloween, everyone! — Love, ABBY


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.