Dear Annie: My only sibling passed away six years ago. He left three adult children and a wife who walked out on him a month before he died. The two eldest children are doing great. The problem is the youngest.

“Olivia” is an adroit liar and has stolen from most of the family members. Three years ago, she said she wanted a “fresh start” and asked if she could stay with us until she got on her feet. At this time, my elderly mother was living with us, and my wife was recovering from bypass surgery. I was inclined to say no, but Olivia cried to my mother, who insisted we take her in. We gave up our bedroom, and my wife and I took separate couches. While here, Olivia trashed our bedroom and my mother’s car. I also discovered that Olivia had been stealing money out of my mother’s wallet.

Mom passed away four months later, and Olivia moved into her own place. I loaned her some furniture, including my mother’s bedroom set.

Here’s where the problem begins. Olivia was evicted for non-payment of rent. No one knew about it for months. When I called the landlord to ask what happened to the furniture, he said it was put into storage for 45 days and then into a dumpster.

Olivia is 30 now. She recently married, and I wasn’t invited to the wedding. I want to take her to small claims court for the value of the furniture we loaned her. This decision has caused grief throughout the family, but I feel it’s time Olivia is held responsible for her actions. Should I do it? — Disowned Uncle

Dear Uncle: First, think it through. Has Olivia matured now that she is older and married? If so, you might do better to approach her directly and ask her to work out a payment plan for the missing furniture. This holds her responsible with less animosity and allows her to acknowledge her misdeeds without creating the confrontation that a courtroom requires. But if she is still the disturbed, conniving girl you remember, a court of law may be the only way to exact payment. You will, however, be damaging your relationship with her siblings, and there is no guarantee that Olivia will learn any lessons. Only you can decide whether your mother’s furniture is worth it.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Want Her Out of Our Lives,” whose 55-year-old obese and bald husband was hanging around a 27-year-old woman. I’d say kick him out, take the house and half his money. and start a new life. Why hang on to someone who would rather hang around with a 27-year-old? If he truly wanted to fix his marriage, he would take the time and effort he spends on his girlfriend and spend it on his wife. — BB

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