Author Topic: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?  (Read 7584 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 07:54:51 PM »
Hobish, I had a student whose house burned down.  She and her family were able to stay with relatives but I went out and got her a toothbrush, pillow, change of clothes, towel and washcloth of her own immediately.  They just seemed likethe things I'd want if I was displaced and needed something of my own.

snowdragon

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 08:22:35 PM »
     We've had these in my neck of the woods. The last that I remember was a little girl here from Europe ( Poland, maybe?) who tried to dangle her feet in the Niagara River.  I am not even sure if there was an actual body to bury...but they had a ceremony, breakfast and there is a memorial somewhere for here.
      I am sure it's hard not to be able to financially to bury someone, but I still think it should not be the family asking ---they have other things to be doing, I am sure. BUT it needs to be done, and the money has to come from somewhere - I am not sure if there is even a government program for help in such things.

peaches

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 08:28:34 PM »
Funerals can be expensive. They also can be inexpensive, depending on the choices that are made.

Usually within the family it's understood what the finances are (at least in a broad way) and family members will often volunteer to help with funeral expenses.This has happened in my extended family.

I have known of families who couldn't afford a funeral and were helped by their church.

There are occasionally tragic circumstances where people in the community set up a fund that people can donate to, if they wish.

I do think it's crossing the line into impropriety for a family member to solicit funds from friends and neighbors for a family funeral. This is first of all a family responsibility IMO.

There's a difference between letting people do things for you and soliciting funds from friends and acquaintances. The first is fine, the second - not so much.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 08:35:16 PM by peaches »

Sharnita

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 08:34:53 PM »
The problem is some people don't have extended family, others have already tapped out their families for medical expenses or financial difficulties cna be family wide. 

peaches

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2013, 08:47:57 PM »
The problem is some people don't have extended family, others have already tapped out their families for medical expenses or financial difficulties cna be family wide.

That could very well be the case. Would that make it fine for family to solicit funds from friends and acquantances? I don't think so.

Work out a payment plan, donate the body to a medical school, choose cremation (which is inexpensive), call the county health department and see what options they offer (some will cover the cost of cremation or direct burial), ask your pastor or church for advice.

I would not put out a call for financial help on Facebook.

Bottlecaps

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2013, 08:56:13 PM »
Even a "basic" funeral ca be expensive, especially when there can also be paperwork, medical costs, etc. connected to the death.

This ^^

Even a super-basic, cardboard box cremation can get up to $1k in cost depending on where you are.

Oh yeah, definitely. I think the following story is why I can see both sides of the argument. When my grandmother died (and it was pretty unexpected to us - I have a feeling she knew it was coming, as she had heart problems for years, but was not one to let on just how serious things were at times because she didn't want people to worry and fuss over her, a very strong and independent woman indeed), her funeral was nothing extravagant. It still added up to the tune of almost $7,000, and her life insurance had not matured yet, so it didn't even come close to covering the costs. However, we didn't ask for donations or anything - luckily, my grandparents were long-time friends of the family that ran the funeral home, and they understood that we, the family, would pay what we could, when we could, and they were OK with that. Fast forward six years later, when my grandfather died, her funeral still wasn't completely paid off. Fortunately isn't really the word I'm wanting to use, but it's really the only one that fits, so anyway, fortunately, my grandfather's life insurance had matured by that time, and it was enough to cover his funeral and the remaining bill on my grandmother's. Here's the kicker - my Pappaw's funeral was exactly the same as Grandma's, even down to the casket, and it was over $10,000 - it had gone  up roughly $3,000. Funerals, even the simplest ones, can be scary expensive. I always said that if I could handle being around death and grief all the time, I would run a funeral home. No matter what happens in this world, it's one of the most lucrative businesses to be in. After all, the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes.

Not everyone has the luxury of being friends with the funeral home directors, though, and it's sad to say, but some are less understanding than others. I also feel it's worth noting that from what I read/saw on Facebook, it was apparent that my high school friend's family had a pretty low-key service.

Anyway, on another point that this thread has gotten me to thinking about, I know that some churches take up collections for its members when something like this happens, and up home at least, it's not uncommon to see the collection jars that several of you have mentioned. I've even seen them down here at the local gas station a couple of times, so I guess it's not all that different.

As for planning within your means, I remember here a couple of years ago, a little girl (only four, if I remember correctly) died in a house fire up home. It really shook up a lot of people (small town, everyone knows everyone, and even if you didn't know them, how can you not be shaken by such an unexpected loss of such a small child?). There were collection jars all over town. The jars pulled in a good bit of money for the family, and there were flyers with information on how to donate to a fund for the family also, to help with the funeral. I personally don't see a problem with that in and of itself - it was very unexpected. The following is where, after thinking about it today, I questioned the etiquette of the way they went about doing her funeral. While I suppose maybe it was excusable because it was their baby, after all, the family wasn't exactly well-off and although I did not attend the services, many people told me that it was a rather extravagant affair with many totally optional (and rather expensive, given the price list I saw when looking over the paperwork of my Pappaw's funeral - the little girl's funeral was held in the same funeral home) extras that were not in any way required. Given that my grandparents' simple funerals were $7,000 and $10,000 respectively, I can only imagine how much a funeral like the one they had for the little girl cost. That struck me as a bit odd, but I didn't really think about it until now, that it's quite possible that while I sympathize with them for losing their child, as I cannot even imagine the pain that must bring and I hope to never go through it myself, it may not have been right of them to plan such a fancy funeral knowing that it was not within their budget and they were going to have to solicit donations to pay for the funeral. The point of that is, I can definitely see the point a lot of you are making to stay within your budget, or if the budget is almost nothing as it is with many of these donation cases, don't go over-the-top with it. (If any of that sounds insensitive given that my example was the death of a child, I give anyone permission to please politely put me in my place.)

I'm so sorry for the long, long, long ramble - just relating to both sides of the argument. Someone tell me to shut up now! :-P
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 08:59:23 PM by Bottlecaps »
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Sharnita

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 09:02:30 PM »
peaches, I think you are underestimating how much death can cost,even with basic cremation or overestimating how much people who are hurting for money have available.  And while deciding to donate your body when you die is certainly a viable option I don't think it is reasonable to tell somebody that if they can't afford to bury their twelve year old they should donate their body rather than ask for help on facebook.

snowdragon

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2013, 09:05:30 PM »
The problem is some people don't have extended family, others have already tapped out their families for medical expenses or financial difficulties cna be family wide.

That could very well be the case. Would that make it fine for family to solicit funds from friends and acquantances? I don't think so.

Work out a payment plan, donate the body to a medical school, choose cremation (which is inexpensive), call the county health department and see what options they offer (some will cover the cost of cremation or direct burial), ask your pastor or church for advice.

I would not put out a call for financial help on Facebook.


  Nor would most people I know.  what usually happens here is a close friend, or extended family member sets up the fundraiser and sets up a bank account and they sell tickets to the fundraiser. Advertisement takes place via posters,  announcements on the news and community calendars. 

kareng57

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2013, 09:09:50 PM »
peaches, I think you are underestimating how much death can cost,even with basic cremation or overestimating how much people who are hurting for money have available.  And while deciding to donate your body when you die is certainly a viable option I don't think it is reasonable to tell somebody that if they can't afford to bury their twelve year old they should donate their body rather than ask for help on facebook.


I agree.  And in some religions, cremation simply is not an option (I don't want religion to derail this thread though, lest it get locked).

Even the paperwork is not free - each copy of a death certificate costs more $$$.  And usually several copies are needed; many officials (such as life insurance) will not accept even a certified photocopy.

While I never would have asked for help, I can understand the need for it, in some cases.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2013, 09:10:45 PM »
I don't think the family should ever solicit for themselves.  Close friends who know that the family is going to struggle to pay for a funeral doing the soliciting?  I have less of an issue.  I can choose to donate, or not.  I am more likely to donate when the death is sudden and leaves behind young survivors, especially children.  I'm also more likely to donate if I know the person a little.  I've never donated for a complete stranger.

My Mom died almost 10 years ago, now.  We were able to cremate her, have three visitations (she was very well known in town - there were a lot of people!), the service and a reception with finger food afterwards for less than $3000.  But I think that is much easier in a small town.  Two of the groups providing the food were organizations my Mom volunteered with.  We gave them a donation; there was no direct charge.  There was no charge for the service from the ministers involved; again, we gave the church a donation.  A friend made the wooden box to put the ashes in.
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Sharnita

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2013, 09:14:14 PM »
ah, the death dertificates. When we tried to cancel a relative's cell the company wanted a death certificate. Not a copy - the certificate.  And insurance.  And selling the house. And ...

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2013, 09:20:29 PM »
I can see both sides of this, so it's hard to take a stand.  My FIL passed a couple years ago.  He did his family the kindness of pre-planning and pre-paying his funeral.  All the decisions were made by him when he buried his second wife (my DH's beloved "evil stepmother" who was an angel in life), including buying a plot adjacent to hers.

I haven't had to deal with a family member's death since I became an adult, so I was clueless about funeral etiquette.  I didn't realize that many people give the bereaved family monetary donations (cash or check).  We were surprised how much money was donated.  No member of the family said anything about needing money to bury him, at least none that I am aware of.  We used the money to pay for a lunch after the service and split the remainder equally between the 3 brothers.

If money is needed to pay for the funeral, I think it would be better for the immediate family to enlist a cousin/aunt/uncle (a relative once removed, but still close) to get the word out that the family is strapped for cash and needs donations to pay for the funeral.  Of course, any family that lets it be known that money is an issue to the extent they are soliciting donations should be keeping expenses down to the best of their ability.  I would be perturbed if I gave the surviving spouse $200 to help pay for the funeral and found that they ordered the platinum-plated coffin. :o
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kherbert05

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 09:27:18 PM »
The times I've seen it fall into 2 categories
- Child killed in an accident or murder life insurance policies for kids aren't that common. I can remember people being shocked that my parents had life insurance on us - that they increased when we went to University (if something happened the insurance would have paid back our student loans).  I remember someone telling Dad he thought it was illegal to take out insurance polices on minors after the murder of Timothy O'bryan and attempted murder of his sister and 3 other children.

- Family Annihilation situations. We raised money a few years ago to bury 2 of our students and their mother after they were murdered by the "father". We also raised money one year after a staff member's sister-in-law and MIL were murdered by the SIL's husband. 3 children were left orphaned and endangered (The police think he meant to kill the children also - they weren't home from school yet because the bus was late). Our staff member took in the kids. We had staff only fundraisers (like jeans passes) to help them out.
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jayhawk

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2013, 10:29:51 PM »
My dad passed away in November. He was 86 and there was no financial hardship. We put memorials to his church or his grand kids' education funds in the obit. My mom did get several cards with cash ($20-$40 or so). I think it is an older custom for out of town friends or family to send money to help, even if it probably isn't needed. Mom put it in the education funds.

strawbabies

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Re: Soliciting donations for funeral expenses?
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 10:42:19 PM »
I don't think it's polite for the family to ask for donations.  But if they can't afford a bare bones funeral (and perhaps burial) they need to pay for it some way, so begging might be the only option. 

It's definitely wrong to ask others for money if they're buying upgraded products or services, like a really fancy casket.  They definitely had better not hire a limo for the family in the processional if they want other people to pay for it.