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Ask Dave

Listen to your heart

Julie's estranged father died recently. Her uncles didn't request money, but they asked if she wanted to be part of things by paying part of his final expenses. Julie wonders if she has an obligation to help. Dave tells her to follow her heart.

QUESTION: Julie’s father died recently, after not wanting anything to do with her for 25 years. Her uncles asked if she wants to contribute, and be part of things, by paying a portion of his final expenses. Julie is in good shape financially, and she wonders if she has an obligation to help with things.

ANSWER: I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry, too, about what happened with your father. I can’t imagine the mixed emotions you must have in your heart.

When someone asks me a question like this, I try to put myself in their shoes. Under the circumstances, I don’t think you have any obligation whatsoever to help pay for anything. If you want to help, and you can afford to do so, then follow your heart. At the same time, I don’t think you should lose one wink of sleep over this if you decide not to contribute.

Twenty-five years is long, long time.