Stepson isn’t keeping up his end of the deal

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: I am in a stressful position now, and it will take my telling the whole story for you to be able to advise me. My husband died five years ago from cancer. He had a son when we married, and we had one son together. So he had two legal children when he died. He had no will, though he told me what he wanted: I would have half, and our sons would have the other half, legally. He also owned a farm, and his wish was for his son to farm the land. He told my stepson to be sure to give me at least $10,000 each year to help with expenses. My stepson even told me all of this and said he’d agreed to it. I was administrator of the estate and put the farm in my stepson’s name in 2013. At that time, my stepson was all about doing what his dad wanted. But he ended up never farming the land and instead renting it out to another farmer. I have yet to get a penny. My home needs repairs. I am in a lot of pain from health issues, which I won’t go into, so I had to stop working and am now living on Social Security. I don’t see my stepson and his wife too often because they have their own business and work so much. I don’t know the best way to ask him to do as his dad wanted. I love him and his wife and don’t want to lose the relationship, especially because my son is his half brother. How should I bring this up? — Widow in Need Dear Widow: Have your stepson over for dinner, and speak from the heart about your circumstances. You have been part of his life for over 20 years, and if he has an ounce of compassion, he’ll want to help. It’s also worth consulting with an estate lawyer privately. He or she can assess your situation and make sure you were given everything you were owed. Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at