Dear Amy: I always have felt that my daughter, "Carol" (from my first marriage), isn't really mine biologically.

My wife cheated on me, and although she always swore that Carol was mine, I find that highly unlikely. I feel that Carol knows this, but we are both uncomfortable about bringing it up.

I was involved in her upbringing, but we grew apart. I see her on Facebook from time to time, and although she is now a grandmother, she seems unhappy — in a hidden way.

Her mother died 20 years ago. I have located the man I believe is her biological father, but I don't know if I should get involved because she might shun him, or she might be hurt because it's been 50 years now.

I realize that a DNA test will settle the parenthood issue, but I am scared that (1) this whole thing will be about a father that doesn't want her, or (2) I'll freak out and find that after 50 years, she was mine all along.

Then again, there is a chance that it also could lead to a happy ending. How should I approach this?

Amy says: One way to begin would be to build a relationship with your daughter. If she seems unhappy "in a hidden way," then you could start by reaching out to her, checking in, finding out a bit about her adult life and connecting with her children and grandchildren.

I assume that your own guilt and ambivalence about her possible parentage — and your implicit rejection of her — is keeping you away. You would feel better now if you acknowledged your own regrets and apologized for being so distant.

You could say, quite truthfully, that you and her mother had a difficult relationship, and that on some level you let your feelings of betrayal affect your ability to be present with her as a dad. Admit any regrets you might have.

I don't think it's wise to connect your daughter with her supposed biological father, or to share your specific suspicions with her. Let her draw her own conclusions and make her own choices.

If at your core you want to find out if she is your biological daughter, you should be brave enough to ask her to take a DNA test. However, you have been prescient about the emotional risk involved to both of you. Pay attention.

Play favorites with estate?

Dear Amy: My husband and I have no children, but we have three nephews. Two of them live near us, so we're in pretty close contact with them.

One of our nephews has always lived in a different town. As a result, we only see him and speak by phone on an infrequent basis.

My question involves how we should divide up our estate. I want to divide it into equal amounts, leaving one-third to each nephew.

My husband thinks we should give more to the two nephews we have a closer relationship with. But if we do that, then how much is enough for the third one without hurting his feelings?

Do you have any suggestions?

Amy says: I vote for equal financial shares to all the brothers.

If you had one particularly close nephew of the three, you might single that one out for an extra award, but in the scenario you describe, you would not be favoring one of the three, but excluding one of the three. I believe there's a difference.

If you gave equal amounts to all three, you still could pass along special and specific heirlooms or mementos to the nephews you know better.

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