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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this letter to suggest that your readers think about giving a power of attorney to a trusted relative to be used in case of emergency. This is especially important for single adults.

The cost of having this document prepared is relatively inexpensive compared to what you will pay if someone must petition for guardianship.

I speak from experience. My father suffered a major stroke that left him totally incapacitated. Legally I could not even stop his mail without a power of attorney, let alone access his checking account to pay his bills, cancel his apartment lease or admit him to a nursing home.

I was forced to initiate guardianship proceedings that were costly, stressful and time-consuming. The cost for our simple uncontested guardianship was $3,000. -- SUSAN

DEAR SUSAN: Good advice. None of us knows when an emergency may arise when we will need the help of someone to take care of our financial affairs until such time as we can resume responsibility. NOTE: Powers of attorney are not necessarily permanent. They can be revoked any time you wish.

DEAR ABBY: As a flight attendant for a major airline for the past 16 years, I have dealt with people from all walks of life. I sincerely strive to make each passenger's flight enjoyable, and I feel compassion for those who are physically or mentally challenged, elderly, and children traveling alone.

For the past five years I have struggled with a weight problem and have been working hard to regain my self-esteem and healthy physique. My sensitive nature has been sorely challenged with comments from well-meaning individuals, due to my weight. Remarks such as, "When are you due?" "How much do you weigh?" and "How much longer do you have before you go on maternity leave?" hurt me deeply.

Abby, can you suggest an appropriate response to such comments? Regaining my self-worth has become crucial, and I must discover a way to continue my job as a flight attendant without further damage to my self-esteem. -- HURTING IN CINCINNATI

DEAR HURTING: The most appropriate response to questions about your pregnancy would be, "I'm not pregnant." People who make insulting comments about your weight are cruel, but if you appear to be pregnant when you are not, take it as a wake-up call.

I urge you to seriously consider a diet and exercise program immediately. Please, make your first order of business a call to your physician, requesting a referral to a dietitian registered with the American Dietetic Association.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are having a disagreement and hope you will settle it.

We have both been married before. For my first marriage, I wore a plain dress because we were married at the courthouse by a judge. I was told that a bride could never wear white at her wedding if she had been married before. My boyfriend says I can. What do you think? -- GETTING MARRIED SOON

DEAR GETTING MARRIED: Wear whatever makes you happy. Traditionally, first-time brides wore white. But nowadays brides wear whatever they want when they walk down the aisle. Brides have been known to marry in everything from bathing suits to fur coats -- to nothing at all!

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600