Life Advice



Ask Amy: Widow feels left out of in-law’s bequest

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I want to make sure my daughter-in-law and son-in-law feel valued when I die.

My current will divides my estate between my two children. Is there something more I should do to ensure my son-in-law and daughter-in-law know how much I loved and valued both of them?

Even in the event that I pre-decease these in-laws, what would be a good way to acknowledge that I appreciate them?

Should I write those notes now?

Am I silly to think they would mean something?

Should I set aside a portion of my estate for each of them?


– Upset

Dear Upset: It would have been judicious for your father-in-law to divide his estate into three equal sibling portions, with your late-husband’s portion given to your children, but he didn’t do that. He cut out your husband and descendants, but you seem to be reacting mainly to the fact that you feel cut out.

Yes, a note to be passed along to you would have been thoughtful, but if you’d received it, you might have felt: “My late-husband was ignored, and all I got was a note?!”

My point is that the reward you received – the legacy – was in the relationship, itself. It was gracious for you to keep in such close touch with your late-husband’s folks. I assume that the elder man enjoyed your weekly phone calls.


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