Family Reunions: Different Strokes for Different Folks

I’m always surprised when I hear friends or colleagues say that their families rarely get together for reunions. That’s because between me and my husband, there are at least a couple to choose from every year. So we usually pick one and set aside some vacation time for it. Many of my friends do the same thing. And it’s fun to hear about what relatives do when they get together for a few days. It can run the gamut. I …

Lending to Relatives? What You Need to Consider

Sonny has bad credit and needs a small business loan. Of course you want to help, but can you make the payments or afford losing collateral if he defaults? Your daughter is going through a divorce and she needs the security deposit for her new apartment. If you give it to her, can you count on her to pay it back? Auntie wants to go to Las Vegas and has asked her children, nieces and nephews to pitch in so …

Tracing a Family Tree, From Harlem to China

Paula Williams Madison is the epitome of success: Vassar College grad, award-winning journalist, former TV executive, entrepreneur, community activist. But the Harlem native was also driven toward another goal — finding more about the Chinese grandfather she never knew. Madison, 62, details her multicultural family odyssey in her new book, Finding Samuel Lowe, due April 14. A documentary by the same name is making its rounds at film festivals, including a recent screening at the International Black History Month celebration …

A Big Problem With Fill-in-the-Blank Wills

It’s tempting, I know. You’re trying to save money. You don’t have lots of property to leave to others. Your estate isn’t complicated. So you go to an office supply store, bookstore or online legal site, grab a standard will form and fill it in yourself. That’s what Ann Aldrich of Keystone Heights, Fla., did back in 2004. She left her property to her sister, Mary Jane Eaton, and added in a clause stating that if Eaton died before she …