Dear Amy: I have two daughters and a son. All are adults. I am divorced from their father and am still single 17 years after the divorce.
My girls both remain in my life. The younger daughter, "Chloe," is always there for me "Nancy," the elder, is like a cat — she only makes time and effort for me if it's on her terms and she is in the right mood, which is not very often.
My son, "Bradley" however, completely avoids me. He never answers his phone if I call. He doesn't respond to contact from myself, his father or Nancy, but he sometimes relates with Chloe.
Now that I'm over 60 and have battled cancer, I'm feeling my mortality and starting to think about things like making a will. I'm of simple means, so there won't be a huge estate, but there will be a few thousand dollars in a 401K account and some life insurance funds.
My dilemma is: Should I leave Bradley out of the will? It seems the sad, sobering thing to do, but it would be based on how he has treated me. Then I could leave one-third to Nancy because she is lukewarm toward me and give two-thirds to the supportive Chloe.
I suspect that if I do an even three-way split, the girls, especially Chloe, will feel resentful that their "deadbeat brother" got anything at all. What do you think?
Amy says: Estate planning can be a complicated business, because it inspires some people to essentially reward or punish after death, when neither you nor they can do anything further.
There is no "right" answer to this question, but in my opinion, you should leave an equal amount to all three children who came into the world loved equally by you.
Chloe already has reaped the rewards of her behavior: She has a nice, positive and active relationship with her mother. In addition to any funds, you can leave special material items to her — or give them to her while you're still around to enjoy the relationship.
You also could notify her ahead of time of your intentions and your reasoning. Talk things through, but no matter what, you should make the choice that feels best, kindest and most ethical to you.
Art for friendship's sake
Dear Amy: My long-term friend decided to ghost me a few months after his wife went in for a "routine heart procedure" and tragically died. He was devastated — as was everyone who knew her.
The last thing he told me was that he was chasing a widow in town who "has a lot of money" and that he was done with me. I asked, "So this is the end of our friendship?" He never responded.
Many years ago, he sent me a piece of artwork he made out of wood. There are many hours of work that went into this. I don't want it in my house anymore.
I thought about donating it to Goodwill here, but it's kind of weird, and I doubt they'd want it. I thought about burning it in my fireplace, but that seems hateful. I thought about simply mailing it back to him with no explanation, but is that cruel?
Amy says: You could try reaching out to this man — one more time — to see if he would like it returned to him.
If he doesn't want it back, Goodwill definitely would take it. As someone who scours flea markets, secondhand stores, and Goodwill for homemade treasures, this piece sounds totally up my alley.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.