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Accountant Refuses Payment for Settling Friend's Estate

DEAR ABBY: For the past 2 1/2 years, my deceased father's friend and accountant has been working on winding up his estate. The bulk of the estate has been disbursed, and it should be clearing sometime soon.

He has refused to take any compensation from the estate for executor's fees. I have told him by email and in person that Dad would want him to be paid for his work, but he refuses to take any payment and insists he wants this to be the last thing he does for my father.

I feel a thank-you gift would be appropriate, but I'm stumped about what to get him. Although I saw him and his family several times in my childhood, I haven't seen him in decades, so I have no idea what hobbies or restaurants he enjoys. I'm guessing his age to be in his late 80s to early 90s, and his wife is still alive. I'm pretty sure people in that age group don't need any more "stuff" for their house, and I know they're financially comfortable.

I have thought about flowers or a gift basket, but the small amount they cost would pale against what he would have been entitled to had he taken his executor's fee. Do you have any suggestions on how I can express my thanks for everything he's done? -- THANK YOU, IN CANADA

DEAR THANK YOU: Because he is refusing monetary compensation, I suggest you write him a letter. In it, express how much you appreciate the hard work he has done and the kindness he has shown to your family. Tell him you know what a good friend he was to your father and how much your dad trusted and respected him. Then say thank you, and if he and his wife live close enough, offer to take them to dinner and thank him again in person.

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