Dear Annie: My husband lent to his brother before he died and now my brother-in-law refuses to pay me back


Dear Anne: I am a recent widow with an in-law problem. My late husband was a generous man and frequently lent money to his family, often without my knowledge. He told me a few months before he died that he had lent his brother, “Simon,” several thousand dollars.

Simon has always been a bit of a bully, not to mention a known thief and poor money manager, but he promised to reimburse my husband after Simon received a settlement related to the scheduled job. Simon can be somewhat intimidating to me (and others) so I approached his sister for advice on this since we heard that Simon’s settlement had been received.

She offered to bring it up with him, and lo and behold, he exploded saying he didn’t owe me anything because he had borrowed the money from my husband, not me, and since my husband died , he owes nothing to anyone! I know it doesn’t make sense, but Simon always “escaped” with convoluted logic like this. (I should add that his family always tolerated and allowed his behavior.)

Are there any reasonable ways to solve this problem? Or should I just write off several thousand dollars that I really need since losing my husband? – Grieving and unprepared for a confrontation

Dear bereaved and unprepared: I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband and now the stress you’re going through because Simon won’t keep his word. It’s reasonable to approach Simon one-on-one and just ask him to hold his end and repay the loan. The deal may have been between him and your late husband, but that money was probably split between the two of you, like most things happen in a marriage. If your husband were still alive, he would certainly want the money returned to him, according to their agreement, and if not to him, then to you.

If Simon can’t pay it all off at once, discuss installments on a payment schedule that works for you. Depending on the amount of money and the state you live in, you may try to pursue the matter in small claims court. If necessary, it may be worth consulting a lawyer to find out what legal remedies you have to recover the loan.

Dear Anne: I’m engaged to an amazing man and I love him very much, but I get jealous when we’re with friends and other women show up. I went home early on a few of those occasions and believed he would make good decisions in those situations, mostly because he knows I’m a jealous person.

I don’t stay up all night waiting for him because I trust him, but it seems once I get home he has more fun and doesn’t get home for four or more. , so how should that make me feel? I can’t wait to marry this man, and I want to feel like I have no reason for my jealousy and insecurities. I don’t know how to get there on my own. — Bitter Bride to Be

Dear Bitter Bride: You’ve said it twice: you trust your fiancé. It seems he’s given you no reason to doubt him in the past, and those lingering, unfounded anxieties will only lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe he feels freer to have fun and enjoy the company of those friends when you’re not around because he doesn’t have to worry about what the “jealous person” in you could do in these social circles.

The good news is that you don’t have to do the work and “make it happen” alone. Seek help from a therapist to overcome those jealous tendencies and personal insecurities — and soon. They would be a terrific foundation on which to build your fast approaching marriage.

To see previous columns “Dear Annie”

“How can I forgive my cheating partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – featuring her favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available in paperback and e-book form. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]



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