Take a lodgerBMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7218.1179 (Published 30 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1179
- Evelyn O Parbrook, retired general practitioner
Dear Amelia, I did enjoy Joe's retirement party and I was honoured that, as your godmother, you have written for advice on your pension position.
You should not have got upset with Joe when he told you that you would be punished if he died first and you decided to take a boyfriend. He was only quoting the official line which states that he must tell his wife that the pensions of doctors' widows are forfeit if the widow remarries or cohabits. A senior pension expert told me that these rules were produced in 1948 when there were few women members of parliament and when in financial and legal matters a wife was regarded as part of the goods and chattels of the husband.
Of course, you are puzzled by the contrary advice we had from Professor Roy …