Heir of the dog?

This is a third-party question, which I rarely publish because the likelihood of helping diminishes with distance from the problem. However, I thought it was a good enough puzzle to capture your interest: “Miriam’s dad walked out on her mom when Miriam and her sister (’Ann’) were fairly young. He moved to another part of the country to be with another woman (since divorced), but actively maintained a relationship with the sisters.

”Miriam also has two much older siblings, who she was never close with. ‘Eve’ was an adult when their dad left, and she stopped speaking to him when he did. ‘Luke’ has had problems with drugs, stole money from his parents, and didn’t attempt to stay close to family for many years other than to ask for money.

”The situation now is this: Miriam’s dad died recently. Miriam and Ann, in the final few months, took turns staying with him and taking care of him. Eve showed up right before he died, and Luke came as well.

”The father left most of his estate (not a huge amount, but significant) to Miriam and her sister, a small portion to Luke, and none to Eve. In the will, he cited his alienation from Eve and the fact that she is well-off financially. Immediately after the will was read, Eve suddenly became very friendly with Miriam, enough so that Miriam began to feel manipulated. When she brought this up to Ann, Ann became angry and told her that they should divvy up the assets equally with Eve and Luke because it’s the right thing to do.

”Now Miriam is torn — if she goes along with it, she feels like she’s being used; if not, she risks her relationship with her sister Ann, who she’s always been very close to.

”She asked me what I would do, but, honestly, I can’t say.”

Can you?

— Carolyn Hax

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