DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have three daughters in their 20s and 30s. One of them, "Lauryn," is married with four children. She and her husband are behind in their mortgage, student loans, federal, state and property taxes, utilities, etc. Over the past 15 years, we have given them more than $40,000 to help them stay afloat. Things have not improved.
Now that my wife and I are retired, the money we provide is cutting into our retirement savings. For the sake of our grandchildren, we continue to bail Lauryn out hoping their finances will improve. But now we have begun to think our handouts should come at a cost.
We want to tell Lauryn and our son-in-law that the money we've given -- and have continued to give -- will count against their inheritance. It doesn't seem fair that we have given so much to this one daughter and her family and relatively little to her sisters. Do you agree? We'd appreciate your thoughts on this. -- LOVING PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
DEAR LOVING PARENTS: I do agree. And for that reason, you should discuss this issue with an attorney who specializes in estate planning, wills and trusts. Your other daughters should not suffer because Lauryn and her husband have been perpetually needy. An attorney can guide you, and it will be money well spent.