DEAR MISS MANNERS: Many years ago, I established a college fund for my nephew. As it turns out, the nephew never attended any post-high school education or training.
I would like to give this money to his mother, my sister. She, frankly, is not doing well; she lives alone and the money would provide some help as she nears retirement.
What should I tell her when I give her the gift? If I say that the money is from the nephew's college fund, she may feel guilty that I'm giving the money to her instead of her son. On the other hand, if I don't explain the source of the funds, she might not understand why I am giving her the gift -- or wonder if there might be more in the future.
GENTLE READER: It is not necessary to mention the nephew. Miss Manners feels certain that it will only cause unneeded discord for a present that is intended to bring your sister comfort.
"I would like to make a contribution to you to help out with things" is enough. If she chooses to accept it, she can always leave it for her son -- especially if he someday has an educational change of heart.