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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.



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  • Joni February 21, 2013, 11:39 am

    Interesting how many of the commenters have noted that this happens “only in America.” But the OP did not mention a country of residence so isn’t that sort of an Interesting Assumption?

  • Elizabeth February 21, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Yes, Allie, please respect the in lieu of flowers request or simply send a card. Sending flowers when asked not to creates a burden on the grieving family – they need to be transported, disposed of, someone may be allergic, etc.

  • Bint February 22, 2013, 3:46 am

    Marozia, plenty of people leave money to their grandchildren. They can leave their money to whomever they want. The idea they shouldn’t is ridiculous, frankly.

    A young man I knew was left a large estate and millions by his grandfather when both his parents were still alive. Sadly, this was because his parents were alcoholics and the grandfather didn’t want to give them a penny but knew the grandson would manage. He did manage too, but under your ideas all that money would have been poured down a drain.

  • White Lotus February 22, 2013, 11:16 am

    Legally, and for tax purposes, there are a lot of reasons to leave money to grandchildren. And maybe the personal one of wanting to provide for them separately from their parents with a fund for some specific use, or dodge a child who, for some reason, shouldn’t have access to capital sums. The etiquette questions are, first, is it OK to request outside contributions to a grandchildren fund, and second, is it OK to direct the request to the world via Facebook. I don’t see the initial friending as a deliberate “gimme grab.” You would have seen it on your feed, friend or no. If it is OK in the local culture, which may vary, to direct donations in lieu of flowers to ANY private fund as opposed to public charity, then this is just another private fund. That tells you a preference, but you are in no way obliged to send or not send flowers, a donation to their preferred fund, or one to a charity of your choice. Up to you. That information would normally appear in an obituary, so why not on FB?

  • Joshua February 22, 2013, 9:22 pm

    When I hear, “my father has set up a trust account at [bank and location] in the apple of his eyes names [granddaughter 1] and [granddaughter 2],” what that sounds like to me is that the father established a trust account and put HIS OWN MONEY into it. It wouldn’t have done the granddaughters much good, at the time the father set up a trust account, for him to put little or nothing in the account on the assumption that after he died, OTHER PEOPLE would fund it.

    Maybe the father really did think that way, or maybe the father did fund the trust and it was the daughter’s idea to solicit additional contributions on behalf of the granddaughters. From the “in lieu of flowers” reference, it’s clear that the daughter was making a solicitation, but in a circumstance like this the best thing to do is to not respond — except perhaps with a message of condolences on the father’s death, making no reference to the solicitation.

  • Mechtilde February 24, 2013, 1:50 pm

    Marioza, I was left money by both of my Grandfathers (in both cases my Grandmothers had died first). It was a very kind and loving final gesture by people I had loved very much, and was very much appreciated by me. There’s nothing wrong with someone chosing to leave money to their grandchildren if they want to. Likewise there’s nothing wrong with chosing not to.

  • Pauline March 24, 2013, 10:02 am

    Good heavens, what’s with all the commenters who keep saying “You’re taking it too personally, this wasn’t a targeted, single attack on you, grow up, it’s not all about you,” etc? When did OP ever say she thought it was personal and done only to her? Seems to me this is taking suspicion a bit too far–really did she have to specify that she didn’t think she was the only one this happened to, or automatically you assume she’s a drama queen?

    It’s absolutely clear what the OP thinks happened, and I think she’s right: this woman was going to make this trust fund announcement, thought “Mm, my friends list is kinda short… the more people on it, the more I’m likely to get” and proceeded to make a list and “friend” all the casual acquaintances she hadn’t bothered to friend before.

    Admin nailed it in every way, including that you don’t have to friend someone back if you barely know them, don’t consider them a friend etc. However, this is one of the major reasons I’m not on Facebook: oh please not one *more* source of drama, oh no are they going to be offended if I don’t friend back, people whose faces I don’t even recognize friending me, that creep who used to hit on me in college friending me…. enough.

  • Clux44 November 27, 2013, 8:02 pm

    I agree with Pauline and the O.P. I understand the point of the administrator saying “she shouldn’t have befriended her” but I think I would have done it out of sheer curiosity. The issue isn’t about trust funds for grandchildren, it is about the fact that this person is “begging” for contributions from anyone and everyone she can find whether or not there is a current relationship.
    I’m afraid I also completely disagree with the point about flowers being too much of a burden because they have to be transported and there could be allergies. This should not be a reason to ask for money. If you don’t want flowers, ask for a charitable contribution or even just a Hallmark card. At least this is one way that someone can personally pay their respects. In this case, the daughter is looking for her family to directly profit by twisting a time honored tradition for her own gain. Shame on her.

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