MONEY MAN­NERS

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - JEANNE FLEM­ING AND LEONARD SCH­WARZ Please email your ques­tions about money, ethics and re­la­tion­ships to Ques­tions@MoneyMan­ners.net

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: Our friend “Robin” has un­der­gone a se­ries of mi­nor sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures over the past three years, pro­ce­dures to treat a con­di­tion that is se­ri­ous but not life-threat­en­ing. Ev­ery time she goes in for one, my wife and I send her a “get well” gift, some­thing that gen­er­ally costs about $75. We’re won­der­ing, though, whether at this point our friend should be ask­ing us to stop giv­ing her presents. I don’t want to seem petty, but to me, af­ter the first two or three gifts — and we’ve given her six — a more con­sid­er­ate per­son would have said, “Thanks, but from now on, your good wishes are all I want.” For what it’s worth, re­cov­er­ing from the pro­ce­dure takes about a day, dur­ing which time she’s at home, not ly­ing in a hos­pi­tal or any­thing.

— Robin’s Friends

DEAR FRIENDS: You may be petty, but you’re not wrong to think that Robin should have called a halt to the gift- giv­ing once these mi­nor pro­ce­dures be­came a rou­tine part of her life. She

should have. But she’s prob­a­bly had other things on her mind — like her health. In any case, you don’t need her per­mis­sion to skip the presents. And as long as you con­tinue to ex­press your con­cern and good wishes, your friend shouldn’t be trou­bled by the ab­sence of a present. DEAR JEANNE &

LEONARD: My hus­band and I had a bit­ter divorce. Among other things, he was a sub­stance abuser and a fi­nan­cial train wreck. Still, af­ter the divorce and even af­ter he died, I made sure our daugh­ter, “Kelsey,” stayed in touch with his mother. To my sur­prise, when this woman died, my now-adult daugh­ter re­ceived noth­ing. (So you know, each of my ex’s sib­lings in­her­ited over $1 mil­lion from their mother.) I’m rec­on­ciled to the fact that Kelsey’s grand­mother left noth­ing to her. But shouldn’t my ex’s sib­lings — my daugh­ter’s aunts and un­cles — have given her some­thing? Kelsey is, af­ter all, blood. Plus, they re­ceived a lot of money from their mother and are well aware of how lit­tle their brother ever did for Kelsey. Even his un­paid child sup­port would have been greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. — Kelly

DEAR KELLY: We un­der­stand why you’re dis­ap­pointed, and we sym­pa­thize. But if there’s a vil­lain here, it’s your for­mer mother-in-law. Kelsey is her son’s daugh­ter and was his re­spon­si­bil­ity. As­sum­ing that she hadn’t al­ready helped you and Kelsey fi­nan­cially, this wealthy woman might at least have ac­knowl­edged her son’s fail­ures as a par­ent by leav­ing his daugh­ter some­thing. No doubt he’d been noth­ing but trou­ble for her, but that, af­ter all, wasn’t Kelsey’s fault.

As for your ex-hus­band’s sib­lings: It would have been nice for them to have shared with your daugh­ter. But it’s a stretch to say they should have made up for their mother’s fail­ure to make up for their brother’s fail­ings. We’re sorry for Kelsey that their hearts aren’t big­ger, but we ex­pect they took their cue from their mother. She left noth­ing to her grand­daugh­ter, and they’re treat­ing that not as an over­sight but a de­ci­sion.

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette/RON WOLFE

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