But our son Kenneth has paid no attention to us for years. We get a card from him at Christmas and a phone call when he needs money. That's it. Our other three kids are a big part of our lives and help us out all the time. My husband wants to leave Kenneth out of our wills. I'm not so sure. While I feel terribly wounded by his behavior, he is our flesh and blood. What should we do?
Answer: Our vote is to drop Kenneth. As you decide how much money to leave to each of your children, there's nothing wrong with taking into account how each of them has treated you. In fact, fairness to your three loving children requires that you not be blind to the love and loyalty they've shown you, as opposed to the contempt their brother has.
Do see a lawyer, though, and make sure the language of your wills protects your estate from any claim Kenneth might try to make. From what you've said, he sounds like the kind of guy who'd be only too happy to take a final shot at squeezing a few bucks out of his mom and dad.
Test your ethics:
3. Agree or disagree? It is common for people to lie, cheat or fake affection in order to be in someone's will.
Last updated February 14 2008: 1:18 PM ET