Author Topic: Gifting money on the death of a relative  (Read 2471 times)

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Ailey

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Gifting money on the death of a relative
« on: February 03, 2013, 10:03:26 PM »
My mom is a long-standing member of a book club, made up mostly of older ladies - generally 50+. Recently, one of the members' mothers died, and the other women were trying to come up with an appropriate gift/gesture. At first, they were thinking either a houseplant or a donation to a hospice charity, but then one member of the group proposed pooling their money and giving the bereaved woman a check; another suggested a gift card.

My mom said she found this in terrible taste and would never think of giving someone money on the death of a relative. We were both wondering if that's an opinion others share, or if there is, in fact, an established custom like this. Thoughts?

Only me

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 10:06:49 PM »
Hi

I agree with your mom & you, giving the lady a cheque is tacky.

I've seen money donated to a cause dear to the deceased happen. IE Cancer society, Heart & stroke. Or a card or bouquet of flowers.

Onlyme

Nikko-chan

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 10:23:26 PM »
Perhaps some of the ladies can make casseroles or some such thing? So thats one less thing for the bereaved to worry about?

kareng57

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 10:26:56 PM »
While I would not do it myself - apparently in some circles it's considered perfectly appropriate to give a cheque to the next-of-kin, meant to help cover funeral expenses.  So I think it's hard to give a firm answer.

For a donation - it's a great sentiment, but you'd want to be sure that the next-of-kin would truly welcome a donation to the particular charity.  For example, just because a loved-one died of emphysema does not necessarily mean that the survivors are in favour of the local Lung Association.  You just never know; people have their own reasons for not liking particular charities.

I'd wait a bit longer and see.  If there's a published obituary, it might suggest charitable donations in lieu of flowers.

WillyNilly

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 10:29:02 PM »
In some cultures/circles, it is very normal and customary to give surviving family money; totally absolutely normal and even expected.  its possible the women who suggested it come from that background.

In other circles, giving a donation to a cause or location relating to the deceased (hospice, foundation, rehab, favorite cause, scholarship, etc) is the norm.  In others, food.  In others, flowers to the wake/funeral or the family's homes. 

None are wrong, none are more right.  The important thing is to think about the person and their relationship the deceased and then just do something to make note they care.

Bales

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 10:30:10 PM »
I've seen cash/checks given in the case of a spouse's death where it's assumed to be a large and long-term financial impact, so it's not completely out of left-field, but for a parent, I would go with something more traditional like flowers, food, or a charity donation.

oceanus

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 10:32:20 PM »
I sent a donation to a deceased relative's young son and wife.  I knew they were struggling, and felt they could use it as they saw fit.  (There was no life insurance, and another relative paid for the funeral.)  Prior to the death, they took care of the deceased in their tiny home, with a baby on the way.  I know a few other relatives also sent a contribution, and I received a nice thank you note.

I see nothing wrong with it.

Sharnita

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2013, 10:38:47 PM »
Has your mom ever priced a funeral, especially for somebody who had no estate ot life insurance?  Saying "never" seems kind of extreme.  I know parents who have had to bury babies, teens, etc. Even the minimal steps are expensive. There is paperwork and that kind of thing.  Now a lot of people prepay, some have life insurance, estates cover the cost, etc.  That being said, there are definitely situations where I'd be shocked if anybody said I was rude to give the family money.  Now, I don't know the circumstances of the bereaved.  Is it possible the lady who suggested giving money might know something about medical/funeral expenses?

Donations are great and can be fine, flowers too.  But the point is to let the woman know she is being thought of and to try to lift the burden of grief the tiniest bit.  If the death and burial brought a financial burden then why not do it by giving her the money?

As far as a donation to charity, unless the bereaved has specified one, I'd be really cautious.  The charity you might think is great might be one they dislike.

Amara

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 10:39:17 PM »
I would think a lovely card signed by all of the book club members would be perfect.

Figgie

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 11:40:09 PM »
Communities seem to vary a lot about this issue.  Around here, (small rural town) I tend to decide what to do based on the obituary.  If the obituary says something like "family requests no flowers" and then says nothing at all about donations to say hospice or a church or other organizations, then that is a fairly clear message that money is what is needed most. 

If the obituary has nothing in it about flowers and something like "donations can be made to a charity of choice" then donations are made to a charity the donor chooses in honor of the deceased or if a specific charity or charities are listed, a donation is made to them.

I've learned over the years that it is absolutely impossible to tell whether or not a family needs money to pay for funeral expenses or not.  Families that look well off can be living paycheck to paycheck and have no life insurance.  Families that look like they have very little can have life insurance policies to pay for the funeral.

I try to take my cue from the obituary (if I don't know the family well enough to actually just know what they would prefer).  I also generally will make food for the family.  Something that can be frozen and is in a disposable pan so that they don't have to be concerned about eating it immediately or returning the pan.

peaches

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 01:25:14 AM »
I can imagine a situation where a relative would feel comfortable giving money to another relative, if they knew they needed it (for the funeral or whatever). But that's not the situation here.

This is a book club. These are friends. That would make giving money awkward IMO.

I like the idea of the group finding a beautiful card (perhaps one that is blank on the inside, leaving plenty of room for them to sign it or write a brief message of condolence).

Or, if the obituary mentioned a favorite charity of the deceased, that would be an appropriate donation to make. A floral arrangement (sent to the funeral home) is appropriate, except when "no flowers" is mentioned in the obit.


Rusty

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 04:22:55 AM »
I agree with "peaches".  If the deceased was a family member and I knew they had financial problems, I would probably offer money.   In any other circumstance, flowers are sufficient, and if no flowers are requested in the funeral notice, I may make a donation.  I would not assume that money is required if no flowers were requested.  In fact, I have never ever come across an instance of money being donated at all, it would be unusual here and I think would be regarded as presumptious.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 09:25:42 AM »
I am familiar with funds being set up for people to make donations in an effort to help offset funeral costs or to set up a college fund for minor survivors. But I've never heard of someone just handing over a check to a friend upon the death of a spouse.  I guess I could see it if it's known the spouse is going to be left in some sort of finincial difficulty.

But I'm like you and your mom. I see this suggestion as being a little "off" unless there is more background that we are unaware of.

bloo

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2013, 09:30:47 AM »
If someone in the book club is uncomfortable with it, then the individuals who wish to gift money should do so individually.

By the way this was brought up on dearabby.com years ago and some of the posters here might enjoy reading some of the viewpoints:

http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20010703

MorgnsGrl

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Re: Gifting money on the death of a relative
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2013, 09:37:24 AM »
What about taking up a collection and using the money to buy a book or two and donating them to the library in the deceased's name?