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In Lieu of Flowers, An Inheritance, Please

A girl I knew in high school (20 years ago) posted this status on FaceBook just two days after she friended me.

Her name appeared constantly on my FaceBook sidebar because we have a lot of mutual FB friends and I’m sure she remembers my name as much as I remember hers. There was name recognition but we weren’t friends or even acquaintances (no animosity or bad history, we just did not run in the same circles). I was never motivated to friend her because I don’t think we ever spoke one word to each throughout high school.

When she friended me I was surprised and curious but accepted. Then two days later I saw her status. Her dad died and according to her message HE had set up a trust account for his two granddaughters, one of which is this woman’s daughter.

It is with a heavy heart that my father passed on Friday Nov 9/12. His memorial is on Friday Nov 16/12 at 2:00pm at [church]. In lieu of flowers my father has set up a trust account at [bank and location] in the apple of his eyes names [granddaughter 1] and [granddaughter 2]. As everyone knows my Dad was my hero, I will miss his strength and love everyday. He may be gone but he will live in my heart forever. Thank You so much to my dear friends for everyone’s support, I appreciate and love you all and I am eternally great full for everything. 

Since the timing of her “friending” is interesting I feel like I’m being shaken down. She friended me AFTER her dad passed and BEFORE posting this message, after years of seeing her name on my sidebar (and if I saw hers, I’m absolutely certain she saw mine).
She has 1 child and 2 incomes (she and her husband both work). I have 3 children and 1 income (my husband is a stay at home dad). I did not and will not donate to the trust, will not send a card (don’t even know her address!) and did not acknowledge her post when I read it because I was rather bent out of shape over it. She makes a point of saying her father set up the trust but if her father wanted his grandchildren taken care of, he should have given them money.   0208-13

Just because someone sends you a friend request does not mean you have to accept it.  If you have had no interest in friending her all these years, you should have ignored the request.

It is crass to publicly announce the death of beloved family member and in the same breath give out inheritance information that has the appearance of soliciting friends and family to join the deceased in bestowing an inheritance upon grandchildren.   It does have that taste of exploiting the crisis for maximum financial benefit.    Many times I have seen people request that, in lieu of flowers, to please donate to a charity, often one related to what the deceased died from.    I’ve never seen one requesting donations for the benefit of grandchildren.   I would ignore the obvious cash solicitation and quietly unfriend her from your Facebook list of friends.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Melissa K February 20, 2013, 5:10 am

    “It is with a heavy heart that my father passed on Friday Nov 9/12. ”

    This sentence seems to be missing something.

  • CookieChica February 20, 2013, 6:28 am

    I’ve shared this before but the worst I saw was in the obit of the father of a high school classmate of mine. They requested donations to her college fund. She was 28 and had dropped/failed out of college once before. And they weren’t asking for a trust of some sort – just money.

    Sorry. If you pass away and you want me to donate to your small children’s education or care, I understand completely (especially if you struggled with an expensive illness). If your child is old enough to have finished a bachelor’s degree two times over, I’m out.

  • josie February 20, 2013, 6:42 am

    I’ve seen preferred memorials to the children’s educational fund….kinda the same thing. Or to the family for final expenses. Or just to the family (no expenses mentioned). After being thru the funeral process with several relatives, including my own father, I’ve come to appreciate giving to charities more than beautiful plants that need cared for. Fresh flowers are nice….leave at the gravesite or take home and in one week, they are done.

  • Saucy February 20, 2013, 7:22 am

    It is bad etiquette to ask that in lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity (especially one that assists people with the disease that the deceased died from)? I’ve been to a few funerals that asked that and I always thought it was nice

  • Lo February 20, 2013, 7:44 am

    This is one of those times I shake my head and think, only in America.

    This is so embarrassing. Grief must be blinding her to how tasteless it is to ask people to contribute to a trust fund for her children now that her father’s passed. Even if it’s her father’s idea he probably only intended it for family (which is slightly better than shaking up friends… I guess) The fact that she’s posting it to random people on Facebook. Wow.

  • Green123 February 20, 2013, 8:25 am

    I have often seen (and am in favour of) requests for donations to charities in lieu of flowers – this is particularly pertinent when the deceased died in a hospice or in the care of a particular home or hospital, or received help from a charity. A trust fund, though? No. Unfriend and block.

  • Coralreef February 20, 2013, 8:39 am

    As the OP said, the timing of the friend request was suspicious. I’m really wondering what is going on with all the money grabs with registeries, beggings, etc. Where is all that entitlement coming from?

    The most I’ve seen on FB following any news of a family member passing are requests for old pictures to be scanned and shared among the family.

  • cleosia February 20, 2013, 8:50 am

    Wow! That is beyond tacky. If she’s using her father for a money grab after he is dead, I wonder what was she doing to him while he was alive?

  • Jewel February 20, 2013, 8:59 am

    While her sentence structure and spelling is eye watering, I’m not all that “up in arms” about the fact she combined the death announcement with the “in lieu of flowers” information. Day in and day out, obituaris with information just like this appear in the newspaper and on funeral home websites. How else will we know to donate to certain charities or organizations instead of spending the money on funeral flowers? Also, if her approach on this matter is not “kosher”, now would be the time to remember not to criticize her too harshly considering that she just lost a parent and is in grief.

  • Justin February 20, 2013, 9:20 am

    Admittedly I am one of the people who in discussing what arrangements I would desire after death with family has stated a preference for donating to a charity over an elaborate funeral and flowers. I’ve told my family to do what they need to do to grieve, but I’ll be dead, so a huge funeral doesn’t benefit me, it is for them. I also maintain enough life insurance to cover all of my financial debts and a cremation with a little left over.

    My parents intention is to spend their money and enjoy their retirement, not provide an inheritance. I am glad they have made this choice. Like me they carry enough life insurance so that debt and burial costs will not be passed on.

    I don’t see how funding a trust is anything other than begging on people’s sympathies. For me if someone had no intention of sending flowers I would not expect them to donate to charity on my behalf, however if they had already planned to spend their money on flowers my preference is that the same amount of money be used on a more lasting benefit to someone still living.

  • NotCinderell February 20, 2013, 9:33 am

    Admin, you nailed it. It’s one thing to say, “in lieu of flowers, please make donation to X charity.” I’ve also seen, “in lieu of flowers, please make donation to charity of your choice.” What those comments are really saying is, please, we don’t want flowers (flowers are bulky, require help to move and set up, not everyone has the space for tons of huge bouquets in their house, and they are actually against some cultures’ funeral traditions), so if you really want to do something on our behalf, let it be something other than flowers.

    Using this sort of thing as an opportunity for personal gain is crass and disgusting.

  • Library Diva February 20, 2013, 9:54 am

    The only time I saw something at all similar was when a high school acquaintance passed very suddenly (she was 34 at the time of her death). She had been a single mother, and they asked for donations to her son’s college fund in lieu of flowers. I didn’t give anything because I didn’t hear about it until a few weeks after she died — we had friends in common in high school, but she was in a different year than me, I didn’t know her beyond saying hello, and we certainly hadn’t kept in any kind of touch. In that case, I actually might have given a little money, just because it was such a sad situation.

    But that’s completely different from this. The children in this story are well provided for, and while the timing of the friend request could have been coincidental, it could have been deliberate too. Facebook has a “suggest friends” panel — maybe she went through them all and added as many as she could before putting this out there.

    I don’t know much about trusts — can people donate to one? Anyway, it seems tacky to try to directly benefit by her father’s death in this manner, although she does sound very sad about his death as well. Anyway, I think Facebook solicitations are in the same category as one that arrives by mail. The average Facebook user has 150 friends, and quite a few have many more, so it’s not like this is at all targeted. Just ignore it, and unfriend her if you suspect more is coming.

  • Hannah2 February 20, 2013, 10:05 am

    I hate death announcements on fb, but I don’t see that she wrote anything wrong here. She isn’t soliciting donations , just stating a fact of her fathers wishes?HE set that up before he died.

  • Hannah2 February 20, 2013, 10:08 am

    And again why all the drama? I was really “bent out of shape about it?” And op goes on to tell us all these things she WON’T do even though the fb post didn’t indicate the bereaved was expecting it?

  • L.J. February 20, 2013, 10:13 am

    It could have been a coincidence. Or maybe her father’s death made her feel lonely and more aware of her own mortality, so she added all those old friends Facebook had been recommending. It disturbs me that you jumped to the worst possible interpretations of her actions. You could post “condolences” or something after her post, if there’s a long thread of others doing so. That would be a nice gesture and wouldn’t cost you anything.

  • Politrix February 20, 2013, 10:23 am

    Ugh, this is one of the reasons I’m glad I’m not on Facebook (or any other s”social media” sites, for that matter.)
    I do notice the typo in her last sentence, “I am eternally great full for everything.” I wonder if it was intentional, or just really, really ironic 😉

  • Lychii February 20, 2013, 10:44 am

    To use one’s own father’s passing as a money-grab opportunity is truly pathetic. OP, you don’t owe this woman anything, no matter what your finances are like; you don’t need an excuse.

    Still, I think leaving your condolences (without any money attached) would have been a nice touch.

  • Dear! February 20, 2013, 10:46 am

    This woman is a gimme piglet, but I think the OP is a bit bent out of shape over nothing at least as it relates to a personal plot against her pocketbook. I doubt, though I may be wrong, that this woman FB friended you for the sole purpose of you PERHAPS reading her gimme pig status when you were not tagged nor was it posted on your wall. Its only a passing status on a newsfeed no matter the gimme nature and I think the OP needs to get over it. She may not even have had the OP in mind, at all.

  • Thel February 20, 2013, 11:25 am

    Wow. Way to capitalise on the death of a beloved one, especially added to the suspicious friending timing. Admin is spot-on, as usual: ignore and unfriend. How crass!

  • CaffeineKatie February 20, 2013, 11:57 am

    I have seen similar requests in local obituaries–I live in an area where many people are surviving on minimum wage, and when the family breadwinner dies I have seen requests for donations to his/her childrens’ “educational fund” in lieu of flowers. However, this doesn’t seem to be the same situation. Yep, I’d unfriend her and just ignore the whole thing.

  • verstrickt February 20, 2013, 12:07 pm

    I don’t know how I feel about soliciting donations for grandchildren (unless they were financially dependent on their grandfather). I didn’t consider it in the least tacky when I saw similar language in an obituary of a young man (the husband of a co-worker) who died unexpectedly at the age of 43, leaving behind twin toddlers. I only sent condolences, but I wasn’t offended that they had created a trust in the names of their children if people wanted to make donations.

  • Qwisp February 20, 2013, 12:10 pm

    I think the OP is looking for something to be offended about. The trust fund is mentioned, but nowhere do I see an actual appeal for funds.
    Unfortunately Facebook postings are becoming increasing the was that deaths, births and every other major life event are announced.

  • whatever February 20, 2013, 12:26 pm

    The trust idea itself is crass, although from her post it sounds like it was her late father’s idea instead of hers. The OP says that “her father wanted his grandchildren taken care of, he should have given them money”, but perhaps he did not have any money to give. However, I’m not sure the timing is related. Deaths often inspire the people to connect with others around them, and the memorial message just sounds like it was sent to everyone on her friends list.

  • Lisa February 20, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Well this is an easy one:

    Just don’t give her any money. And unfriend her. She’ll probably never notice.

    I wouldn’t waste my time getting all worked up over something that likely has nothing to do with you directly.

  • Ashley February 20, 2013, 12:38 pm

    While I doubt I would have accepted the request in the first place, I certainly would have unfriended her after that. How rude of her. “Oh my father died, give my children money”. What the heck?

  • Tara February 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

    I think the Poster is reading for to much into this and taking it personally. I highly doubt this was an personal attack for just one person for a cash donation….

  • Barb February 20, 2013, 12:42 pm

    I have seen solicitations for a college fund for the deceased’s minor CHILDREN, but never for grandchildren. However, nothing shocks me anymore.

  • Cheryl27 February 20, 2013, 12:42 pm

    I am not sure which is worse, asking for money when someone has died or in lieu of gifts for a wedding. I am not sure where manners have gone to but they are not in the United States. The younger generation is more about getting everything they want via someone else. This person above who annouced a death and bank information within the same paragraph needs to be in e-hell for the lack of manners and money grabbing which prey on those who are sad over her father’s passing.

  • Ergala February 20, 2013, 1:01 pm

    Sadly this seems to be the norm here. In the obituaries you’ll see “In Lieu of Flowers a fund has been set up for the deceased’s (children/grandchildren/spouse…) at *name of bank*. Please direct donations there.”. The ONLY time I did donate to one of these was a young woman whom I went to school with who was murdered in front of her 2 year old son last year. She was a single mother and the father wasn’t very active in the boy’s life at all. The whole community rallied together and set up a HUGE trust for the little guy for anything he needed. To me that was a great cause and absolutely appropriate. Otherwise…no.

  • Jane February 20, 2013, 1:12 pm

    I think there are situations where asking money for a trust is acceptable – when a parent dies suddenly and leaves behind children. But for grandchildren? Err, not so much.

    While I understand the urge to have money rather than flowers, barring unforeseen and dire circumstances, we don’t get to request that from funeral attendees.

  • supah February 20, 2013, 1:23 pm

    This person is an opportunist. And tacky.

  • cleosia February 20, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Lets see: 1) They never said a word to each other all through High School, 2) They see each others name on the Face Book side bar for a while, but 3) she doesn’t ‘friend’ her until two days before the trust notice goes out. Very suspicious timing.

    And as for the fact that the grandfather set up the fund, you only have her say so that he did. That may sound unbelievable devious, but I have a relative that would be just that sneaky so I know that people do things like that from personal experience.

  • DGS February 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

    Tacky, needless drama all around…a tempest in a teapot. A) The OP is reading way too much into a FB posting that she was not tagged in by an old acquiantance that may have simply friended her out of idle curiosity, without any sinister motive and is getting “bent out of shape” over nothing and B) the OP’s acquiantance was certainly tacky to solicit donations in such a way. Horrible, greedy behavior in the aftermath of a tragedy. Ick.

  • Debra February 20, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Tangential note: I’m wondering what the Admin thinks about the “in lieu of flowers, please donate to charity X or similar.”

  • Amanda February 20, 2013, 4:12 pm

    I’m certainly glad I’m not the only one who thought perhaps the OP was taking the post a bit too personal. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that not everything is about me. It may have been a bit of a coincidence, it may have been deliberate timing, but I’m almost certain that regardless, the specific post was not aimed at one specific person. Greedy, perhaps, depending on the circumstances, but not specifically aimed.

    Having said that, the worst I’ve encountered was not on facebook. As my previous job, our immediate supervisor’s older brother died. Said supervisor was easily in her 60s, so while this was hearbreaking for her, there honestly comes a time in life where mortality begins to become a closer reality. A fellow teacher interrupted my classroom to solicit a donation for the supervisor because “that is the way it is done in (supervisor’s) church.” I’m not sure which is worst–the federal or the etiquette violation.

  • ggg February 20, 2013, 5:31 pm

    If anything, I would deliberately NOT unfriend her. Her future posts could be an endless font of outrage-causing impropriety. What fun!

    In all seriousness, the post wasn’t directed at the OP specifically. And if the OP barely knows this person, she has no idea whether or not this was actually the father’s dying wish. Just give a dramatic eyeroll and move on.

  • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 5:38 pm

    When my mother passed we did a in lieu of flowers please donate to a certain charity because she gave money there herself and they take care of children who suffer from cancer, which she passed from. The funeral home assisted us and had envelopes in the room for the wake that were pre-addressed for said charity and people also donated on their own (and we did receive flowers but nowhere near the amount that we might have otherwise and we were able to divide them between the grave-site, relatives in the same cemetery and vases that we and other family members could bring home).

    I had a tacky situation happen on Facebook also. I attended a small, all girls’ high school and am friends with most of my fellow graduates. One who had attended class with us but transferred out before graduation added myself and a bunch of friends recently for a similar idea as in the OP. She wanted us to all vote in a contest for her to possibly win an engagement ring.

  • lakey February 20, 2013, 5:45 pm

    “Sorry. If you pass away and you want me to donate to your small children’s education or care, I understand completely (especially if you struggled with an expensive illness). ”

    Even in cases like this, I think it is better if someone other than the immediate family does the fundraising. And in my area it is pretty common for people to do something to help out a member of the neighborhood, church, community who has gone through a death, fire, or whatever that has left them in financial straits. And people are glad to help. It just seems better when the family isn’t put in the position of asking for money.

  • lakey February 20, 2013, 5:54 pm

    As far as helping out with funeral expenses, I can see where it could be a good thing if a family really can’t afford even a basic funeral. My mother’s funeral cost $10,000 and we made moderate choices. However, again, these things need to be handled in a way that they don’t look like family members are soliciting cash. Friends spreading the word behind the scenes seems like a better way to go.

  • lakey February 20, 2013, 6:00 pm

    “The most I’ve seen on FB following any news of a family member passing are requests for old pictures to be scanned and shared among the family.”

    This can be a great idea. My brother had a book of pictures of my mom’s life made up that we set out at the funeral home visitation. And the funeral director used photos to make up a video that was played on a tv that was set up during the visitation.

  • Marozia February 20, 2013, 6:36 pm

    How vulgar and crass to ask for money to be put in an inheritance account!
    1. You DO NOT leave inheritances to grandchildren.
    2. Leave it to your children, to be given to grandchildren.
    3. NEVER, and I mean, NEVER advertise this on social networking sites. You never know who’s is out there.
    ‘Bent out of shape’ would not be the words to describe how I would feel if I saw that on my FBook.

  • Allie February 20, 2013, 7:13 pm

    I’m curious to know if one has to respect the “in lieu of flowers” request. In other words, is it poor etiquette to send flowers anyway? Honestly, I give a set amount to charity each year and I’m not actually going to take that flower money and send it to a charity. My budget just isn’t that rigid that each penny is ear-marked for this or that, as if to say “Oh, I have $40 for charity this year but so-and-so died so I need to use it for flowers.” It doesn’t work that way.

  • JB February 20, 2013, 7:31 pm

    I am in agreement with the comments about the OP taking this message too personally. There is nothing wrong with posting on your own wall that your father has passed. In fact, that sort of message is a lot more important than the rubbish posts about restaurants or television that most people seem to write. By the OP’s own account, the writer’s father had also been deceased for at least several days, so she doesn’t appear to be one of those FB users who make huge announcements publicly before informing family/real-friends in a more appropriate way.

    She asked for donations: So what? Plenty of obituaries do exactly the same in newspapers every day…and frankly, how many people here make a point of reading the obituaries regularly? Depending on the writer’s age, FB is probably a more effective venue for spreading the news of her father’s death and his wishes than a newspaper might be. Meanwhile, the OP doesn’t have to donate or even say a single word. I am so very sick of people reading every request for a donation as a personal abuse against them. They aren’t — especially when coming from a grieving person who probably isn’t too concerned with ‘tackiness’ at the moment.

    There is also something very sad about the OP reading some kind of conspiracy against her in the writer’s actions — as though this grieving person deliberately waited to say anything about her father until after the OP agreed to her friend request. Sorry, but I doubt the OP is quite that important to the writer.

  • Vanessa February 20, 2013, 9:13 pm

    I think the worst gimme obit I’ve ever seen happened a year or so ago. It was short – basically it was two stepchildren saying – our stepmother was a nice woman. We miss her. Send us money. It listed both stepchildren and their complete address. OMG.

    It didn’t even say – help us pay for her funeral. Just – our stepmother just died, send us money.

  • Angel February 21, 2013, 12:27 am

    Very shameful. But nothing to get worked up about. Still it’s pretty pathetic to essentially beg for money over Facebook.

  • Margaret February 21, 2013, 2:43 am

    If a dependant child is left, then sure, donate to their education fund etc. I see no problem with that whatsoever. I find it a bit odd that it is asked for grandchildren, but I read it as an option, not a decree.

    However, I think it would have been better for the friend to have posted the notice of her father’s death with a link to the obituary where the “donations in lieu of flowers” information could be posted. Someone who genuinely wanted to recognize the father by donating something would have looked it up on their own.

  • waitress wonderwoman February 21, 2013, 2:45 am

    A friend whom I had not seen in over a decade that I knew from the very small college I attended died in a terrible car accident a few weeks ago, killing both her (she was only 33) and her only children: two young daughters, ages 3 & 4. She and I had been Facebook friends for about two or three years but she rarely posted except for about a week before her death when she posted some beautiful professionally taken pictures of her family (the fact that I had been admiring the images only days before and thinking how happy she looked, made the accident seem even more tragic). I think I was tagged in about 4 or 5 old pictures people had uploaded that day because we had been teammates on the cheer-squad (they brought back such wonderful memories). It was a horrible, horrible tragedy. A fund was set up to help her husband (the fund was NOT set up by her husband), he had just lost his entire family in one day and his grief I can not even begin to fathom, with funeral costs. Also a scholarship for our school was set up in her name. All of this was through links posted on Facebook. As much as Facebook annoys me sometimes, I was thankful for it in this case because many people would have never even known about the tragedy as she had moved across the country. I thought it was a wonderful idea to help with funeral costs and a loving tribute to her. In this case, I was more than happy to contribute. So social networks to help the families of those whom have passed are not all bad. The situation that the OP describes….I just don’t know how I feel about this one, I’m on the fence. It makes me wonder if she knew her father was about to pass, and quickly started adding “friends”.

  • Yvaine February 21, 2013, 8:27 am

    @Marozia–you’re not supposed to leave things to your grandchildren? I haven’t heard that one before.

  • Library Diva February 21, 2013, 9:56 am

    @Caitlin, I see a lot of that on Facebook too. People are always wanting me to vote daily for their children to win various “adorable baby” contests. I’ve been “invited” to charity marathons run in other states (really, invited to donate something). More irritating to me was the graduate school friend who would set up invites to her work events (and we all went to school for museum work, so there were a lot of them) and blast them out to her whole list, knowing full well that no one was going to drive for six hours or hop on a plane for these things. I guess they just bothered me because they were constant and untargeted, and because Facebook deliberately makes events harder to ignore than posts.

    At these moments, I guess you just have to sigh and remember the good…the friends you’ve reconnected with that you thought you’d never hear from again, the ease of keeping in touch, the lost pets that returned home swiftly after their photo went viral regionally, the tale that Waitress Wonderwoman told above, and more.

  • delislice February 21, 2013, 11:11 am

    After a death is virtually the ONLY time I think it is okay to ask for money. Every other time carries an expectation that people are going to give you gifts and you can direct their generosity.

    But when someone dies, people who cared about that person are often left feeling helpless and are moved to “do something” for the person’s loved ones.

    The survivors can be overwhelmed with dozens of enormous arrangements, and as each day passes, the scent becomes heavier and more oppressive, somehow making things worse. That’s if there are no allergies involved to begin with.

    But still, people want to “do something.” They want to not just tell the survivors that they care; they want to show that they care.

    A donation can be a very good way to do that, and the organization that receives the money will be receiving it “in memory of —,” helping leave a legacy of charity and generosity as the deceased’s last act.

    And in this circumstance, I think it’s okay for the family to direct the donations — to hospice; to a research fund for the disease that claimed the person’s life; to the person’s faith community; to a cause the person held dear.

    I think it’s also nice if the family asks, “In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Heart Fund; the Town Library Campaign; or a charity of the giver’s choice.”

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