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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Sells Family Heirlooms to Impress New Girlfriend

DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away last year, and my whole world has been rocked. To make it worse, my father has been acting like a little boy. Soon after Mom's death, he met a woman. Since then, he has not included me and my siblings in any decisions regarding Mom's belongings -- including expensive and sentimental things that have been in our family for years.

When we ask Dad about the items, he says, "They're mine now," or, "You have nothing to do with them." Mom prided herself on these antiques that have stayed in the family. We would like to pass them on to our children and their cousins, but Dad has been selling them and using the money to pay for his lifestyle.

Am I wrong for feeling that Dad is acting like a spoiled brat? Talking to him is useless. He responds like a kid at the playground whose friends won't play the way he likes. -- LET DOWN BY DAD IN N.Y.

DEAR LET DOWN: Although it may not seem like it, your mother's death may have rocked your father's world, too. It is regrettable that the "mechanism" he has chosen to help him through the grieving process is so expensive he must sell family assets to afford her. However, unless your mother left a will specifying what items she wanted you and your siblings to have, then they are legally your father's to dispose of as he wishes. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.