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The Moneyist: My son is married to a egocentric, passive-aggressive lady. How can I depart him cash with out her getting her arms on it?

Dear Quentin,

My 42-year-old only child married a woman 12 years ago.

She is selfish, a recluse, and extremely passive-aggressive. I don't know why my intelligent son stays married. She has alienated ALL of his friends and family. My daughter-in-law never goes to family events. She has an 18 year old disabled daughter who is very friendly. I treated her like she was my flesh and blood.

My 43 year old husband passed away last year. When I die there will be a significant amount of money in my estate (if everything goes according to plan). My son deserves an excellent life and will not need any money from me. However, I don't want him to get hurt. I don't want any money or items to go to my daughter-in-law.

How can I at least give him some money and use the rest for charity without it getting into my daughter-in-law's hands? My granddaughter – as I call her – cannot accept money because she is extremely disabled and the state pays her medical bills. She will never be able to work. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Feeling very alone and sad

You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear alone,

People enter into relationships for all sorts of reasons, and although you believe your daughter-in-law is bad for your husband, he chose her.

Even assuming that their behavior has changed for the worse over the years, he remains married. He benefits from it – enough to stay in the marriage. You can ask him, "Are you happy?" Or express that sometimes you feel like he doesn't see his old friends enough. But you can't live his life for him.

Without a marriage or marriage contract, you can set up a trust for your son. The foundation can determine how your son receives the money – for example as income and not as a lump sum – and can also be used for a specific purpose (for the care of his stepdaughter when he is in need of care or simply for your son's expenses). This may be preferable to a lump sum that could inadvertently (or not) be mixed up as marital property.

Some people put their actual home in a trust in case they die before their adult children. "You can also be a beneficiary and act as a trustee," said Alice A. Salvo's law firm. “If you die, property may remain in trust for your adult child's benefit or may be transferred to them under the terms of the trust. The house would not be part of the estate and therefore not part of the estate proceedings. "

You should also check the rules in your state about whether gifts are considered a common good or a special property. An inheritance is usually considered to be independent property, unless it is deposited in a shared bank account or the money is used, for example, to renovate the family home. Laws vary by state. For example, in Tennessee gifts are generally considered separate property, while gifts in New York are considered joint property.

The healthier your relationship with your daughter-in-law, the more access to your family you will have. It is difficult to let go of resentments, perceived hurts, and opinions that have been formed over a long period of time, but difficult people also have good qualities when we seek them. She can be a good mother or wife, even if she isn't sociable or extroverted – and her reluctance may have anything to do with her own pain and upbringing, and nothing to do with you.

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• I have three children. I left my house to my most responsible son. Now he's blocked my calls
• My brother-in-law died, leaving his house in chaos. His landlord wants me to repaint and replace the carpet. What should we do?

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