Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Family fallout affects legacy

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My mother and younger sister have had a strained relationship since we were kids. They both fall into some pretty toxic behaviors, and refuse to acknowledge or apologize for their intentionally hurtful behavior, instead preferring to view themselves solely as the innocent victim in all of their fallouts.

Recently, they had another big falling-out, and decided to cut each other out of their lives as a result. Both have stated that they're not interested in attempting to reconcile. They consider the damage to their relationship irreparable at this point.

My mother just told me that both she and my father have decided to write my sister out of their wills. Instead they will be making charitable donations with a large portion of the money that would originally have gone to her. I wish mom hadn't told me, but now that I bear the burden of knowledge, should I let my sister know?

-- Still Willed

Dear Willed: This is one of those dilemmas where it helps to ask yourself, "If I inserted myself into this situation, what good would it do?"

In this case, if you disclosed your parents' decision to your sister, it would only confirm their already established estrangement, likely rendering any future reconciliation impossible.

 

Given the life-long challenges between them, you might assume that there is no reconciliation on the horizon. This estrangement might in fact be a relief to both parties. Your parents have every right to do whatever they want with their money, including the remote possibility of changing their minds later.

You should speak to your parents. Tell them, "I wish you hadn't disclosed this to me, but given that you have, I want you both to know that I don't intend to be a go-between. If you want my sister to know about your decision, you should tell her."

Dear Amy: My college friend, "Eliza," recently moved to a new city. I connected her to my dear childhood friend, "Lexie." The two women had met numerous times previously so I thought it would be nice for Eliza to have someone to show her around the new city.

The two have a lot in common besides friendship with me. They are both motivated, friendly, interested in arts and music, and are navigating the dating scene in the city.

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