DEAR ABBY: When my husband died, he didn't have a lot of possessions. He died without a will, so what little he had is now with me. My problem is my mother-in-law keeps asking that I return things she gave him.
I wouldn't mind if she has them, but she has been giving them to his children, who hated him and were rude and disrespectful. They neither called nor came to see him during his long illness. They didn't even bother to come to his funeral.
I feel they want his things only because they think they might be of some value, not out of any respect or affection. My kids showed him more respect and love than his own did, and I'd rather they have his things.
Should I be honest and tell my mother-in-law why I won't give her any more of his possessions? I just don't know what to do. -- OKLAHOMA WIDOW
DEAR WIDOW: It's sad that your stepchildren ignored their father during his illness and chose to skip his funeral. Be sure to point that out when you tell your former mother-in-law you have other plans for the items. She may not like hearing it, but once a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient. And because her son died without a will, the recipient is you, his widow.