Dear Abby:

While my mother lay on her deathbed, my stepfather of 17 years had her sign a new will, leaving everything to him.

She was heavily sedated at the time, but he explained that it would be easier for him to disburse the money that she wanted us kids to have if he were in charge.

He remarried one year after Mother died and dropped us like hot potatoes.

It has been a while since I contacted him, but my family had financial difficulties, so I called to ask about the money. His reply, "Tough luck." He had promised my mother, my siblings and me that he would take care of us.

We're not talking about a few bucks, Abby, we're talking about a half-million dollars!

I pray he reads this and thinks hard about what he did.

Please help.

I have no other recourse.

Hurt Daughter in Pennsylvania

Have you spoken to a lawyer about this?

I did.

Here's what my legal expert had to say:

"As a matter of law, yes, there could be some recourse. However, we don't know how much time has elapsed since the mother died and the stepfather remarried. If the new will was done on the reliance of the promise he made, there MAY be something that could be done when he dies."

So, my advice to you and your siblings is to consult an attorney who specializes in planning estates.

Dear Abby:

I am a girl in sixth grade. My parents are divorced. At school, I'm bully target No. 1 and my grades are dropping.

I don't know how to talk to my parents, and I have been begging them to let me leave school.

Can you help me?

Desperate in Dallas

I'll try. Clip this letter, show it to your parents and tell them you wrote it:

Dear Parents:

Your daughter is in trouble at school. That is why she begs you not to make her go -- and that should have been your first clue. You are overdue for a serious chat with your child. After that, schedule an appointment with her school principal. Most schools have policies for dealing with bullies, but they can't be implemented if the incidents go unreported. If that doesn't put an end to the problem, go to the school board -- and possibly a lawyer. The situation will not improve unless you are prepared to act on your child's behalf, so don't put it off.

Dear Abby:

I have a huge problem. This boy I like, "Terry," told me over the phone and the Internet that he thought I was "hot" and he loved me, but his best friend's brother, "Rick," told me different. Rick said that Terry hates me, thinks I'm ugly, and I should never call or e-mail him again.

Who should I believe? I'm really confused.

Heartsick in Waverly, Ohio

Tell Terry what Rick said. It's possible that Rick also likes you and wants you for himself, so don't be so quick to believe what he said.

Hold those calls and e-mails for a while. If Terry calls and e-mails you, the chances are he likes you. However, until you are absolutely certain about his feelings, be cautious about the way you respond to his e-mails and about what you say on the phone. It could prevent embarrassment later.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate