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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Thinks Her 'Wonderful Guy' Is More Friend Than Lover

DEAR ABBY: May I respond to "Saddened Mother," who wants to give her son a portion of his inheritance now because he and his family need it? I think she's right. Perhaps my letter will help convince her husband.

My father's attitude about inheritance was always, "I'm going to spend my children's inheritance." That was fine with my brother and me because we love our parents and wanted to see them happy and prosperous. They earned their money and we never asked for anything.

However, a year ago, my father died unexpectedly. My mother decided to give my brother and me equal amounts of money she said she "would never miss." Because of her generosity, I was able to quit my job and stay at home with my two young children. My brother used his windfall to enlarge his home to accommodate his growing family. My mother's life is richer for the pleasure she receives from watching us live better lives. She's glad she did it, and we are forever grateful, although we did not expect it.

Sometimes "the principle of the thing" can get in the way of what's really important in life. Losing my father made us realize that money isn't all-important; we, her children, are the most important part of Mom's life.

I don't know if I can ever thank my mother enough for a gift that has helped me at a time I would never be able to recapture. I am blessed that she understood how much more her help would mean to us as young, struggling families than it would later in life. I hope "Saddened Mother's" husband comes to the same understanding. -- THANKFUL DAUGHTER, MOUNDS VIEW, MINN.

DEAR THANKFUL DAUGHTER: The decision of how to dispose of one's personal wealth is personal, and because family dynamics can differ, there is no "one size fits all" answer. However, your personal account of the positive impact of providing an "early inheritance" may be helpful to the family in turmoil. Thank you for sharing it.