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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Plans to Bequest Money to the Soul Mate He Deserted

DEAR ABBY: Many years ago, I had a romance with a young girl in a faraway town. After a year, thinking I could do better, I moved on. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realize she stood head and shoulders above all the others, and I had tragically discarded my soul mate.

By chance, I ended up settling in the same city as she. She eventually married and raised a family. Now and then we would run into each other, exchange a few friendly words and a quick hug, then move on. On one of those occasions, she was accompanied by her husband and introduced me as a "friend" from back in our younger days. Although he was cordial, I could see in his expression that he wondered if perhaps there wasn't more to the story than that.

In the course of getting my papers and estate arranged, it is clear I have done fairly well in terms of money. I divorced years ago and have no children. I am leaving money to a relative or two, some assorted charities and, for two reasons, I have decided to leave a reasonably large sum to my soul mate. For one, she was, and is, perhaps the finest person I have ever known. Second, it is obvious to me that they can use the money.

But what happens when this windfall drops out of the sky into their laps? I have no wish to cause problems in their apparently happy marriage in any way, but I cannot help but think that despite my good intentions it might cause a disturbance in their relationship. Am I doing the right thing, and is there a better way to do it? -- "JOHN BERESFORD TIPTON JR."

DEAR "MR. TIPTON": Your letter brings to mind a television series from years ago called "The Millionaire." Each week the representative of an eccentric multimillionaire, John Beresford Tipton Jr., would hand some deserving person a check for $1 million in the hope that it would improve the person's life.

Ask your financial adviser or the person who will administer your estate how to discreetly pull off an anonymous bequest, and I'm sure the person can make it happen.

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