Dear Mrs. Riches:
I have some relatives that I'll call "Jane" and "June." Jane and June have cultivated a relationship with a very rich relative who is aging, infirm, and lives in an assisted living facility. They send him cards, bring him contraband in the form of girlie magazines and cigarettes, and just generally cozy up to him, all in hopes that they'll be remembered in his will. They wouldn't pay the guy an ounce of attention if he weren't rich.

With the rest of the family, they are up front about their intentions and hopes, not seeming at all embarrassed about their manipulations. Mrs. Riches, what is wrong with these people? When did it become OK to lay siege to someone's fortunes in such a calculating way? I feel like I should say something to him, except that we're not at all close and it might just seem like sour grapes.
Disgusted in Daytona

Dear Disgusted:
And Donald Trump, with his bad comb-over, has attracted a bevy of beauties because of his charm? Tact? Good looks, perhaps? As long as money has been around, those who have it (regardless of their looks, age, or virility) have attracted those who want it; it's that simple. Jane and June, while clearly not well-versed in the art of subtlety, are acting out an age-old plot, with themselves cast as femmes fatales. The best plots, however, involve a twist at the end. Don't be surprised if this aging codger knows very well that Jane and June are interested in more than his conversation. All the girlie magazines in the world can't secure someone's fortune.

Should you say anything? I can't say that I would. You have no special relationship with this relative, no special, trusting bond that would let him know you have his best interests at heart. Your warnings may even be seen as an alternative strategy to get to his fortune. Watch and make sure that nothing truly nefarious is going on (a strange, almond-like smell on his breath would be a clue), but otherwise, sit tight.

Should he leave his riches to the connivers, try not to be too upset. No doubt their flattery -- regardless of its basis -- put a little sparkle into his golden years. He may well have been willing to overlook their less-than-stellar motivations if only to avoid bingo and craft time for another day.

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Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp, a.k.a. "Mrs. Riches," is a licensed professional counselor. She's married to Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter.