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by Abigail Van Buren

Structure of Dad's Will Leaves His Daughter Feeling Left Out

DEAR ABBY: My sister and I are 42 and 50. Our parents divorced 30 years ago, and Dad has been remarried for about 20 years. Although he lives across the country, we see him twice a year and have what I think is a healthy, strong relationship.

Over the past 10 years, he and his wife have been taking international hiking trips abroad. Before they go they send us their itinerary, copies of their will, power of attorney, etc. in case something were to happen on the trip. It's clear in the will that if Dad dies first, everything gets left to his wife. Then, once his wife passes, whatever remains will be split between her two adult children and my sister and me.

It bothers me that there isn't a provision in the will to leave anything specific to me and my sister if he goes first. After discussing this with my therapist, I found the courage to bring it up with Dad. His response was something along the lines of, "This is what we've decided so 'Judy' has enough to live on after I die."

Is this normal? My friends and husband think this is strange and sad. I feel hurt, but also uncomfortable because it's not "my money," and he's obviously free to do with it as he wishes. I see how generous my husband's parents are with us, and it's in stark contrast to my dad. Advice? -- LEFT OUT IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR LEFT OUT: If by "something specific" you are referring to a personal item, such a watch, a ring, his old pitcher's mitt or bowling ball, I think you should have another talk with your father and Judy. A memento like that would not impoverish her, and it might make you feel better. It's worth a try. If, however, you're referring to a sum of money, accept that their financial assets are theirs to do with as they choose, even if you do not agree with it.