Fa­ther tells bi­o­log­i­cal son he’ll be fa­vored in will

The Washington Post Sunday - - ADVICE & PUZZLES - by Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: My el­derly fa­ther con­fided to me that I would in­herit sig­nif­i­cantly more of his es­tate than will my two step­broth­ers and their fam­i­lies.

I am his only bi­o­log­i­cal son. I am cer­tain that his de­ci­sion will en­gen­der sad­ness in my step­broth­ers. I am likely to be ques­tioned about my fa­ther’s ac­tions.

How should I re­spond to their queries? Do I have an obli­ga­tion to “even things out” un­der the cir­cum­stances? — Sorry Son

Some par­ents dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren and stepchil­dren, and while you might un­der­stand the logic, it is un­for­tu­nate.

Depend­ing on the length of the mar­riage, your fa­ther could have been in his step­sons’ lives for al­most the en­tirety of their child­hoods. Stepchil­dren feel they are fam­ily and are treated as fam­ily — un­til it is time to read the will.

All you can do is ex­plain that this was your fa­ther’s wish and ac­knowl­edge their sad­ness. You do not have an obli­ga­tion to “even things out,” though it would be gen­er­ous of you to do so. Your mak­ing things right would not likely re­pair your sib­lings’ es­ti­ma­tion of your fa­ther, though they would think well of you.

Dear Amy: Re­gard­ing the let­ter from “Per­plexed in Mary­land,” which raised the is­sue of cour­tesy among em­ploy­ers look­ing to hire, I could not agree more that as a so­ci­ety we have not only be­come cow­ards, as you state, but also com­pla­cent hu­man be­ings who have for­got­ten the im­por­tance of proper eti­quette.

Fur­ther­more, I do not agree with the com­ment that busi­nesses do not have in­cen­tive to keep in touch with non­hired ap­pli­cants. If some­one takes the time to in­ter­view with a com­pany, he/she de­serves com­mon cour­tesy with an ac­knowl­edg­ment. If a com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive states that he/she will fol­low up the next week and does not, it be­comes an in­tegrity is­sue. Prospec­tive em­ploy­ers “ lead by ex­am­ple.”— No Ex­cuses in Gads­den, Ala.

Dear Amy: In re­sponse to “Won­der­ing’s” query about res­o­lu­tions for a new year, I of­fer my own tra­di­tion. I never make a res­o­lu­tion that cov­ers the en­tire year. In­stead, ev­ery month I pick a new habit that I want to ac­quire. These are usu­ally small things like re­cy­cling the paper as soon as I am done with it. I make sure to per­form the task ev­ery day for the en­tire month. — Habit Con­scious in Buf­falo

I ab­so­lutely love this idea and re­solve to adopt it for my­self. Thank you!

Write to Amy Dick­in­son at askamy@

tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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