"Their Rotten Kids Are in for a Surprise"
Reprinted from the Los Angeles Times
October 7, 1999
Dear Ann: This is a hard letter for me to write.
My husband and I are in our 70s and have raised two
children who are a disgrace. We waited until we were over 30 to
marry because each of us was taking care of an elderly parent.
We were thrilled to have children and tried to follow all the
rules so we could set a good example. Our children were
raised with love, religion, family values and discipline. We lived
in a nice home in a fine neighborhood, and they
attended excellent schools.
We have searched our hearts to understand why
they turned out the way they did. They were never
neglected, always supported, and given the best we could
affordand many things we couldn't. Their opportunities were many,
but they always chose the wrong path with the wrong people.
Now, we are faced with an unusual problem and need
your advice. My husband and I received an unexpected,
sizable inheritance. Our children are not aware of this. We do
not want them to have it when we die. We have no
other relatives, and our friends are as old as we are. We
are considering our church and perhaps the Salvation Army.
We have made a list of people mentioned in our
local newspaper who have done good deeds with no
expectation of being rewarded and think perhaps we might give
some money to them. We would like to feel we have really made
a big difference in someone's life.
Our attorney wants to meet us soon to draw up
our wills. We are not in the best of health. Please
~Disappointed Parents, No Name, No State
Dear Parents: I can't imagine what your children did
to justify total estrangement, but that's not what you
wrote about, so I'll stick to the business at hand.
The good causes you mentioned are excellent places
to put your money. I have been a strong supporter of
the Salvation Army for years and know how much your
help would be appreciated. I also recommend the
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Hereditary
Disease Foundation in Los Angeles. Your attorney and
tax consultant can advise you on the best way to give
your money away and help prevent your will from
being contested by your children
"Choosing A Reputable Charity"
Reprint from the Chicago Sun Times
April 22, 1983
Dear Ann Landers: My husband and I are not wealthy,
but we do have some money we would like to leave to
charity. Our children have been a disappointment, and we
have helped them perhaps more than we should have in the
last several years. Our grandchildren have paid no attention to
us whatever and we feel no closeness to them at all.
We have heard that many of the well-known
"causes" spend so much on administration, salaries, fund-raising
and expense accounts that a shockingly small amount of
the money given actually goes to the people who need it for
the purpose intended. Can you recommend an organization
that helps humanity and does very little skimming off the top?
~The X's in Fort Worth
Dear X's: The Hereditary Disease Foundation, 11400
West Olympic Blvd., Suite 855, Los Angeles, CA spends less
than 1 percent of each dollar for promotions,... No
other organization comes close. Its integrity is exemplary.
Note: Since the publication of Ann
Landers' column, our address has changed to: 3960 Broadway, 6th
New York, NY 10032