Author Topic: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette  (Read 1991 times)

slappy

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Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« on: October 26, 2020, 02:40:05 PM »
A (not super close) friend of mine has suddenly lost her ex boyfriend/father of her child. She is devastated. I'm not entirely sure of her relationship with him, but I'm sure she feels the loss deeply for her child. I have never met him, but our kids go to school together and are close friends. From that, I know that he occasionally "forgot" to pick up the child from school, and I know that bothered my friend a lot. I think she struggled to co parent with him. I don't know that the background is pertinent, but here is my question. Can I/should I slip her cash when I see her next? Maybe a gift card? Is this where stealth wealth comes in? I know the deceased's family has a gofundme set up for the funeral. I know my friend works a lower wage job, lives with family, and is a single mother. Other than that, I'm not sure of her overall financial situation, although her son seems to have all of his needs met. I'm not sure how much the deceased's parents did contribute/will continue to contribute toward the care of the child. I'm thinking a few things. 1) If he had been paying child support, he is no longer 2) She is likely taking time off from work to deal with things 3) Christmas is coming up. Additionally, in the past I have known people who had a family member pass away and they had to set up a gofundme. I gave those people cash (our relationship was different) and they seemed to really appreciate it. One person was a girl I worked with, not close with, but close enough to know she was devastated by the loss and could use the extra cash. She seemed to appreciate the cash as well as the fact that I was thinking of her. So that situation was a bit different.

Basically, I want to help. I don't know how, and I'm awkward. Any advice, mustachians?

parkerk

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 02:50:52 PM »
I think this is a lovely idea and you sound like a lovely person for caring.  There's no "should" here but if you can and you want to, money is always welcome during difficult times.  You're right that even if her actual financial situation doesn't change much she'll still be dealing with a lot emotionally, both for herself and her kid.  Taking away any money worries she may have will reduce that load.

If you think she's the type that will accept the money if she knows who it's from, I'd feel free to pass on a card with the money in it that says something like "sorry for your loss, I hope this will help ease things for you a bit in this difficult time."  If you don't feel comfortable with that find a way to do the same, but anonymously.  Either just drop off/mail the card without letting her know who it's from or if you know a third party (a mutual friend? her family?) who would be willing to pass it on, ask them to do so. 

All the best to you and your friend.  If her other friends and family are as thoughtful as you she's very lucky. 

Smokystache

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 03:17:38 PM »
I agree with what @parkerk said - and will add this:

The gofundme will likely be set up to go to the "next of kin" - the people who are in control of the funeral services (and are on the hook to pay for it) - which I assume is the deceased's parents (since your friend wasn't married to him). Sometimes funerals are over funded - sometimes they are underfunded. That's for the parents to worry about. If you want to help your friend, give her the money directly. Your friend and her son need money that they have control over. It would be great if the funeral is over funded and the parents give money to your friend and their grandchild -- but who knows if that will happen.

And I'd go straight cash - no gift cards. Let's make this as easy for her as possible. And if you want to in a couple of months, you could always say to your friend, "I really love giving kids Christmas presents - It brings me a lot of joy. I've got a budget of $XX - is there something special I could get for your son that he'd love?" 

terran

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 03:45:06 PM »
I have no idea what to say about this situation, other than that it would be a nice thing to do, but I wanted to mention that if you have a relationship that would make you comfortable bringing it up you could mention that she should be eligible for social security survivor benefits since she's caring for the ex's child. This should last until he's 18 years old (maybe a little older if he goes to college) and probably a small one time payment from as well (a few hundred dollars).

MayDay

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 03:50:06 PM »
I think giving her money directly is a great idea.

Also mention to her that her child will now qualify for social security for the deceased parent. It will likely be in the range of 1000-1500$/month. This should help ease future financial burdens. It will continue until the child is 18.

slappy

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 04:00:05 PM »
@terran and @MayDay  That is a great idea! Thank you! For some reason that slipped my mind!

@smokeystache That is exactly my thought. She likely won't see any of the money. She has worked three jobs to support this child and she does a great job. I just want to make things a little easier for her now. I will definitely keep the Christmas thing in mind. I'm hoping to be able to open up a conversation between now and then.

@parkerk Thank you for that language! I will definitely use that in the card when I include the cash.

terran

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 04:20:34 PM »
I think giving her money directly is a great idea.

Also mention to her that her child will now qualify for social security for the deceased parent. It will likely be in the range of 1000-1500$/month. This should help ease future financial burdens. It will continue until the child is 18.

I wouldn't quote the amount as that depends on the decease's earnings. Don't want her to count on an amount and then end up getting less.

Cranky

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2020, 04:37:11 PM »
Itís pretty common in some areas to just send a card with a check in it.

slappy

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 04:58:41 PM »
Itís pretty common in some areas to just send a card with a check in it.

Interesting. I'm sure it's regional. I feel like funerals (hopefully) come along so infrequently that it's tough to know what the right thing to do is.

GizmoTX

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 05:57:21 PM »
I detest GoFundMe. Besides the fee, there's no guarantee that the money will go to the intended person or if it will be used properly.

My own sister set up a GFM on her own volition when our brother's spouse suddenly died. Many of his friends donated that way, thinking that's what my brother wanted. Then our sister kept the proceeds (about $2400)! She didn't see anything wrong "since she helped so much with the funeral" but her "help" was primarily her travel to stay with him. Even before this happened, I opted to gift some money directly to my brother, & then I was glad I did. It took her siblings shaming her & a full year before she finally paid the proceeds to our brother.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2020, 06:19:01 PM »
Cash would be great if you're comfortable with it. In our family, we also go heavy on food. This used to mean dropping something off, but lately there are so many meal prep and delivery services around that it has become more common. My in-laws have taken to sending box of Omaha Steak meals, which keep frozen a while. During a tough time, it's really nice to not have to worry about what you're going to have to cook for dinner or having to run to the grocery store.

slappy

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2020, 06:20:16 PM »
I detest GoFundMe. Besides the fee, there's no guarantee that the money will go to the intended person or if it will be used properly.

My own sister set up a GFM on her own volition when our brother's spouse suddenly died. Many of his friends donated that way, thinking that's what my brother wanted. Then our sister kept the proceeds (about $2400)! She didn't see anything wrong "since she helped so much with the funeral" but her "help" was primarily her travel to stay with him. Even before this happened, I opted to gift some money directly to my brother, & then I was glad I did. It took her siblings shaming her & a full year before she finally paid the proceeds to our brother.

Haha, this is what my husband said. He detests GoFundMe as well. The fees are another reason I give directly. If I know of a situation that has a Gofundme that I actually want to contribute too, which is not that often, I will just give directly to the person in need. Your situation is what my husband thinks happens with all Gofundme accounts.

slappy

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2020, 06:21:50 PM »
Cash would be great if you're comfortable with it. In our family, we also go heavy on food. This used to mean dropping something off, but lately there are so many meal prep and delivery services around that it has become more common. My in-laws have taken to sending box of Omaha Steak meals, which keep frozen a while. During a tough time, it's really nice to not have to worry about what you're going to have to cook for dinner or having to run to the grocery store.

Yes, I was wondering about this. I know when my FIL passed, someone brought over a bunch of sandwhich stuff, and it lasted for days. When you are grieving and busy dealing with funeral stuff, it's not easy to deal with grocery shopping. Another reason that I thought cash would make sense, so she can spend it on take out or groceries or rent. Whatever she needs.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2020, 06:28:34 PM »
Cash would be great if you're comfortable with it. In our family, we also go heavy on food. This used to mean dropping something off, but lately there are so many meal prep and delivery services around that it has become more common. My in-laws have taken to sending box of Omaha Steak meals, which keep frozen a while. During a tough time, it's really nice to not have to worry about what you're going to have to cook for dinner or having to run to the grocery store.

Yes, I was wondering about this. I know when my FIL passed, someone brought over a bunch of sandwhich stuff, and it lasted for days. When you are grieving and busy dealing with funeral stuff, it's not easy to deal with grocery shopping. Another reason that I thought cash would make sense, so she can spend it on take out or groceries or rent. Whatever she needs.

Totally. The way I think of it, food is taking out a whole portion of someone's life they don't have to worry about- if you give cash, she still has to go to the store, cook, or order. It's kind of nice to just open the fridge, see it full, and grab something.

To be honest, anything you do is nice, so do what you think is right. Just food for thought.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2020, 10:55:32 PM »
Wonderful sentiment and gesture. If you feel odd at all about giving her money, give her money for the kid for her to spend as she sees fit. No one would balk at that.

Cranky

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2020, 04:09:40 AM »
Itís pretty common in some areas to just send a card with a check in it.

Interesting. I'm sure it's regional. I feel like funerals (hopefully) come along so infrequently that it's tough to know what the right thing to do is.

I think it is, and itís more common in some groups than others IME.

Thereís often a clue in the obit - some clearly say that theyíd appreciate donations to a charity and some, especially for young people with young families, do specify that donations to the family would be welcome.

Sugaree

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2020, 05:37:08 AM »
I agree with what @parkerk said - and will add this:

The gofundme will likely be set up to go to the "next of kin" - the people who are in control of the funeral services (and are on the hook to pay for it) - which I assume is the deceased's parents (since your friend wasn't married to him). Sometimes funerals are over funded - sometimes they are underfunded. That's for the parents to worry about. If you want to help your friend, give her the money directly. Your friend and her son need money that they have control over. It would be great if the funeral is over funded and the parents give money to your friend and their grandchild -- but who knows if that will happen.

That may or may not be true.  When BFF's husband died, his ex-fiancť set up a GFM for "the family's expenses."  Despite plastering her picture all over it, she never saw a dime of it.  She thinks that his mom and siblings probably were set up as the beneficiaries. 

Metalcat

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2020, 05:56:49 AM »
I think the least awkward way to do this is to give her cash for her kid. I don't think anyone would blink an eye at generosity to a child who just lost a parent.

Then on top of that, I would bring her some food, to show that you recognize that this is brutal for her as well and that she's probably very busy handling all of this at the moment.

As for what's normal in your region, funerals aren't rare at all. They're more common than weddings, so you could find out what the typical custom is in your area pretty easily. 

Fishindude

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2020, 08:01:33 AM »
I would not give anything towards a funeral or to GoFundMe.   Funeral homes bury paupers every day for free and the government reimburses them.

It would be a nice gesture to help out your friend with some cash in a difficult time, I've assisted friends in need many times.

Catbert

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2020, 10:46:15 AM »
I would not give anything towards a funeral or to GoFundMe.   Funeral homes bury paupers every day for free and the government reimburses them.


Yeah, I never understand people who "need" 10K to bury a loved one.  You can get cremation and scatter the ashes yourself for $800. even in my HCL area.  Everything else is a "want".  For wants you spend what you can afford.

Cranky

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2020, 11:03:37 AM »
Grieving people are not always thinking reasonably, and many people find a funeral to be a comfort.

My own family tends towards cremation and a small memorial service but some people find that disrespectful.

Sugaree

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2020, 11:08:32 AM »
Grieving people are not always thinking reasonably, and many people find a funeral to be a comfort.

My own family tends towards cremation and a small memorial service but some people find that disrespectful.

When a friend's husband died recently, his family insisted on a traditional burial.  Unfortunately for them, he didn't have life insurance and was a rather large man.  It was going to take $9000 and three weeks in order to get a casket big enough to accommodate him plus the cost of an extra large plot.  So, the widow did what she could afford and had him cremated and the urn buried.  That wasn't good enough for the family who called her, more than once, to scream at her for this decision. 


I want to be cremated and my ashes interred into an artificial concrete reef.  My "I'm dead....well that sucks" binder spells this out and specifically tells my family that I will come back and haunt them if they try to do that ridiculous burial thing.  Graveyards are a waste of perfectly usable space. 

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2020, 11:14:11 AM »
I second sending a meal in some form with a simple card with money for the child in it.  You sound like a very thoughtful friend.

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2020, 11:28:12 AM »
Itís pretty common in some areas to just send a card with a check in it.

I never realized this until my grandfather died and quite a few people gave my grandmother sympathy cards with checks inside.  I think it sort of depends on who has died, however, since no one slipped us checks when my grandmother died.  I have no idea if anyone gave my dad money when my mom died, but when FIL died a couple of years ago several people gave money to his widow.  We used to always send flowers or a nice plant, but now we give money.

I would absolutely give the money directly to your friend, and not the GoFundMe.  Food is nice, but while it takes away the need to cook for a short time, it doesn't solve immediate financial problems.

elaine amj

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Re: Gofundme for funeral costs...funeral money etiquette
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2020, 02:22:34 PM »
I definitely like the idea of giving a card with cash. You can always say the money is for her son. In my home country, its customary for everyone to give cash at a funeral. Even for wealthy people. In some cases, the family ends up with more than the funeral costs.

Despite my dislike for Go Fund Me, we recently contributed to two of them this year. One for the funeral of a good friend's nephew who died of a drug overdose. They were having trouble affording the simple funeral. And one for a friend who has cancer and has to pay for her chemo drugs out of pocket (yes, even in Canada). We participated in both those Go Fund Me instead of giving cash directly because in both those cases, the public giving helped their fundraising efforts.