MONEY MANNERS

Posted: April 19, 2017 at 1:51 a.m.

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: When my wife's brother opened a frame shop, word went out in her family that we needed to give "Jason" some business. Since I had a signed print by a local artist that I'd been meaning to hang in my man cave, I took it to my brother-in-law for framing. Big mistake. Jason accidentally spilled chemicals on the print, leaving a large discolored spot. While he has apologized and promised not to charge me for the frame, he's said nothing about replacing the print, which would cost $350. I asked him if he has insurance for accidents like this, and he doesn't. What should I do? If he weren't my wife's brother, I'd insist that he pay for the print he ruined.

-- Matt

DEAR MATT: Ask your wife to replace the print.

We're only half kidding. After all, you only took the print to Jason to accommodate her family, and it's only out of deference to your wife that you haven't insisted he replace it (for the record, that's what he should do, not offer a free frame). In a perfect world, your wife would explain to her brother that he should be treating you as he would any other paying customer in this situation, which is to say, he should make you whole. But the world's not perfect; neither are marriages; and if your wife won't intercede, you're stuck with the loss of that print.

One question, though: How much does the frame cost? If it's equal to or greater than the cost of a new print, then in not charging you for the frame, your brother-in-law would indeed be making you whole.

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: I left my husband for another man when my daughter "Jennifer" was 15. I'm not proud of what I did, but I'd been unhappily married for many years and was desperate. My two older children were out of the house by then, and their lives were not as affected by the divorce. But Jennifer was terribly hurt by it, and has never forgiven me for leaving her father -- so much so that she has refused to speak to me for the past 25 years. Still, I love my daughter, and I'd like to leave her -- as well as her siblings, of course -- a share of my estate. My husband thinks I'm crazy. He says I'd be rewarding Jennifer for 25 years of hostile behavior. What do you think?

-- Heartsick Mom

DEAR HEARTSICK: Seeing as you continue to love her, there'd be nothing wrong with including your estranged daughter in your will. Indeed, making Jennifer a beneficiary could be an important way of signaling to her the enduring bond you feel. Think long and hard, however, before you leave her anywhere near as much as you're leaving her siblings. That's because leaving anything approaching equal shares to your children would be, in effect, saying to the two who forgave you that their love and attention over the past quarter-century were of no consequence. You don't want your will to result in two additional wounded and resentful children.

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Family on 04/19/2017