Dear Annie: A person who inherited a family property wants to ask his aunt $35,000 in back rent

Dear Annie: In the 1960s, my father inherited some land with homes from his uncle who raised him. For some reason, he allowed his sister, aunt, and her family to move into a rent-free home.

In 2002, my father passed away. My sister and brother inherited the property. I bought my brother and sister at an agreed price. My aunt continued to live on the property and would often repeat that my father’s will said she could live there for free.

After eight or nine years of doubt, I went to the Probate Court. It turns out that the will did not say this. So, I started collecting my aunt’s rent. My whole family was terribly upset about this. I haven’t spoken to my sister since. As far as I’m concerned, my aunt owes me about $35,000.

My aunt is not poor. Just like my family, it was a penny penny. I’m a Christian, but I can’t think of anything to do with someone who would do such a stunt. how do you feel? – Crooked Relatives

Dear Relatives: Legally, your aunt has no right to live on your property without paying rent. Staying on your land without permission is trespassing. Passing this on to your aunt might be enough to get her to start paying.

However, you may also want to consider your family’s arguments. Think about how difficult it is for your aunt to leave the land that she associated with her deceased brother, the land she had been living on for decades. Perhaps you find it in your heart to negotiate a deal with your aunt – she charges her rent well below the market rate. And please, get out of your head that she owes you $35,000 in late rent, especially when your dad refused to pay her anything.


Dear Annie: My cousin, who was a dentist in Kansas, died of pancreatic cancer two years ago. My side of the family was very supportive of his wife and children. We called and wrote to them several times to offer our support, and I drove over 400 miles to his funeral.

A year ago, my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. My late cousin’s wife knew this for at least six months. She made no effort to connect with my sister (or with me) in any way. Is this a form of narcissism or just a bad character flaw on her part? Cancer support is not mutual

Dear Support Not Received: Grief comes in waves, and the healing process looks different for anyone experiencing a loss. Perhaps it wasn’t narcissism or neglect on the part of your late cousin’s wife, but simply a wound that reopened so close to home now that her husband passed away two years ago.

Whatever the reason for her radio silence, the only thing you can control is how you support and show up for your sister. Continue to stand by her during this difficult time, and over time, hopefully, others in your family will follow suit.

“How can I forgive my cheating partner?” out now! Annie Lane’s Second Anthology—comprising favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication, and reconciliation—is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information.

Send your questions to Annie Lane at [email protected]


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