For Lee’s Summit sister: If sibling is stealing inheritance, you need to intervene

07/26/2014 7:00 AM

07/26/2014 6:28 PM

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: My father wasn’t a nice guy, so as adults neither my siblings nor I had much to do with him. Dad remarried years ago, and he and his wife (now deceased) had one child, a daughter, who’s disabled. Long story short, it turns out my sister “Evie,” without telling any of us, became much friendlier with Dad a couple of years ago.

Recently Dad died and, according to Evie, left everything to her and nothing to his disabled daughter. Since Evie’s not trustworthy (she once cheated Mom out of $25,000), and since she won’t show anyone Dad’s trust, I smelled a rat. So I spoke to Dad’s former lawyer, and from what he’s told me, I’m convinced Evie is cheating our disabled half-sibling out of a substantial inheritance. Am I wrong to think that I have a responsibility to alert the proper authorities to the situation? My other siblings say I should stay out of it. — Unhappy Sister, Lee’s Summit

DEAR UNHAPPY: Your siblings probably don’t want to have to hide the carving knife at the next family dinner.

Seriously, is the problem that they’re reluctant to take sides? Well, if so, shame on them. If Evie is stealing money from your disabled half-sister, that’s wrong — period. And if you let her, that would be wrong as well.

One more thing: Don’t let your siblings tell you that “family loyalty” requires you to back off. There’s a line beyond which family loyalty ceases to matter. And if Evie is helping herself to someone else’s inheritance, she’s stepped over it.

Let friend know of gift’s value without bragging

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: I’m concerned that my friend “Sarah” doesn’t understand how much the gift I gave her is worth. She and I have been good friends since eighth grade, so when she graduated from medical school, I gave her a pair of one-of-a-kind silver earrings. They cost a lot, but I have a great job now and can afford it. I can see, though, that while Sarah loves the earrings, she doesn’t understand how valuable they are. Should I tell her she could buy a weekend in Cancun for what they cost? — S.A.

DEAR S.A.: Now you know the virtue of those distinctive blue Tiffany boxes.

Yes, let your friend know — without bragging, of course — that the earrings were expensive. For one thing, valuable belongings need to be cared for appropriately. For another, while there’s nothing wrong with giving a modest gift, there’s also nothing wrong with getting credit for having given a particularly generous one.

Wife’s wishes come before ex’s request

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: My ex has asked to borrow $1,500. “Amanda” and I were divorced 10 years ago (no kids), but we’ve remained friendly, and I’d like to help her out. My wife is against it, though. She says lending money to Amanda will only encourage her to ask for more, and she’s also worried that Amanda might not pay me back. But it’s not like Amanda’s ever asked for money before. Moreover, I’d be taking the $1,500 out of my personal account, and if the money’s not repaid, I can afford to lose it. I think I should lend Amanda the money. Do you agree? — E.F.

DEAR E.F.: If the borrower were anyone else, we probably would. But exes are different.

Forget about the likelihood of Amanda’s repaying you; your first allegiance should be to your wife. As it is, she has good reason to wonder why you’re so determined to lend money to her predecessor, and why — of all the people her predecessor knows — this woman wants to borrow the money from you. Plus your wife wouldn’t be wrong to wonder what good is likely to come from giving you and your ex-wife a reason to be closer than you already are.

We know, we know: Everyone’s motives are pure. Even so, give your marriage a break and tell your ex “no can do.”

Email your questions about money and relationships to questions@moneymanners.net.

| King Features Syndicate

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