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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Explores Way His Gift Can Keep on Giving

DEAR ABBY: My partner and I have been together 23 years and his parents have embraced me as one of their own. A few years ago, we bought his mother a beautiful diamond cocktail ring for Mother's Day. She's now 84, and when she passes on, I'd like that ring back to have it turned into a ring for my partner. It's a gesture I'm sure would please him, and I hope his mother as well. I believe she's leaving her jewelry to her granddaughter, which is fine. But this particular ring will mean so much if I turn it into a ring for her son.

Would it be tacky for me to request this of Mom if I tell her why? I don't want to offend anyone, and I know the person who inherits her jewelry will probably pawn or sell it anyway. (I'd also like to keep it on the down low so my partner doesn't find out until the ring is given to him.) What do you think, Abby? -- PHIL IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PHIL: I think what you have in mind is beautiful, and I can't imagine why your partner's mother would object if you raise the subject. Estate planning is a fact of life. However, if she doesn't wish to change her will, and you think the granddaughter is likely to pawn the ring anyway, you could offer to buy it from the granddaughter when the time comes.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Death | Etiquette & Ethics