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by Abigail Van Buren

Heating Daughter's Pool Is Raising Dad's Temperature

DEAR ABBY: I was recently named executor and sole beneficiary of the estate of a dear relative who passed away. One of my cousins had the nerve to contact the attorney for the estate and demand to know why she hadn't received her inheritance.

Please, let me share a few "truths" that may save a lot of time, expense and hurt feelings for other families:

1. People of sound mind have the right to disburse their assets the way they choose.

2. No one owes anyone anything at the time of death (beyond paying personal debts, and final medical and funeral expenses).

3. An inheritance is a gift, not an obligation.

4. If your name is not on the list of beneficiaries, the deceased obviously had his or her reasons not to leave you anything.

If you loved and cared about the person who died, you will always have beautiful memories to treasure -- and in the end, isn't that what really matters? -- BLESSED IN IOWA

DEAR BLESSED: Your letter reminds me of a quotation by Henry Fielding (1707-1754): "If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil."