### Concerns Arise as my Deceased Sister’s Partner Severs Contact with Her Children

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Dear Care and Feeding,

Our family has been completely estranged from my late sister’s children. Following my sister’s sudden passing, her boyfriend became agitated during the probate process, demanding full access to her limited assets and disregarding the legal procedures. Despite our refusal to comply with his unethical and illegal demands, we extended various forms of assistance, including childcare, emotional support, transportation for the kids, and financial aid. Nonetheless, the boyfriend decided to cut off all communication without any explanation, preventing the children from contacting their cousins and grandparents as they had before.

As the probate proceedings are nearing conclusion, I am contemplating reaching out to the boyfriend in an attempt to reconnect the cousins. While our personal relationship may be strained, I believe it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of the innocent children. Would it be unwise to pursue this course of action? Any suggestions on how to approach this delicate situation, including what to communicate or avoid mentioning?

—Miss My Family

Dear Miss My Family,

I extend my deepest condolences for the loss of your sister and the distressing situation regarding her children. I encourage you to consider reaching out to her boyfriend again, bearing in mind that he may not be receptive initially. It might be prudent to initiate contact in writing first, as he could react negatively if approached by phone. Express your desire to set aside past differences and maintain a relationship with your late sister’s children, emphasizing the significance of their bond with their cousins. Communicate your unwavering love for the children and reiterate your willingness to provide support in any way possible. Acknowledge the challenges he is facing and emphasize that your sister would have wanted her family to remain involved in her children’s lives. Avoid discussing the probate dispute and instead focus on your strong desire to stay connected with the kids. Persistence may be necessary, as multiple attempts might be required before receiving a response—prepare yourself for the potential of an unfavorable outcome. Remember, your commitment to your nieces and nephews is worth the effort. Best of luck.

—Jamilah