Expensive medical bills: personal finance advice.

This column is part of Counseling weekAll advice is courtesy of Slate.

Sometimes, all you need is a different perspective. So, this week, the reporters switched sides. In this series, grooming and feeding columnist Doyin Richards takes care of your money questions.

Care and feeding,

My husband “Josh” and I are both widowers and did not remarry until our children were in their 20’s. I have always had a good relationship with my daughter but not a close one. My husband and I try to make sure that at every social interaction there is an opportunity to see each other.

Josh was always sick, but he was well treated until the end. According to her doctor, it’s about two years of very expensive and very painful treatment with little time to recover—but probably a hospital in the end. Josh wants us to separate so we can protect our assets from the immediate medical bills, with a solid written agreement on how he will continue to own our home, etc. to protect him. Our financial advisor and attorney agree that we can do this, but there is one sticking point: He refuses to tell his children.

They know he’s very sick, and I think they deserve to know, but they say it’s too private. I don’t want them to accidentally find out or think I hurt their dad in his time of need. How to approach it?

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— It will soon be separated

Dear soon to part,

First of all, my heart goes out to your family, as this is a very depressing decision to live with. I agree with your point about protecting your assets from foreclosure, but I disagree with not telling the children about the divorce.

They will eventually find out, and you will be left holding the bag of their resentment. Even if you know the truth, how can you lead them to believe that the divorce took place the opinion? If I were in their shoes, there is no way in the world I would believe you, and it would ruin your relationship with your stepchildren forever.

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I know your wife’s heart is in the right place because she is doing this to protect her children, but she is not looking at the big picture. He might think it’s private, but divorce isn’t really a private issue, because people can usually look it up in public records to see if it exists. You need to do everything you can to make him see the light, otherwise he will hurt a lot of people for no reason.

— Doyin

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