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Old 03-08-2014, 06:43 PM
2,442 posts, read 1,795,692 times
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I think it depends entirely on where you live and what your culture is. I've never heard of it, but maybe it's common where you live. Like money at weddings, I'd hate to do it in a culture where it's considered tacky.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:14 PM
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,083 posts, read 5,496,975 times
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Originally Posted by beenhereandthere View Post
Just wondering. Example, memorial fund of the deceased person?
Two of my family members lost their unemployment and have no incoming income as they are taking care of a gravelly ill family member, who hasn't been given much time to live.
You may find it a dumb ?, but I'm not well versed in death and dying.
So I think you're saying, the two family members will be responsible for the funeral for the gravely-ill family member when he/she dies, correct? And you are saying they won't have the money to pay for a funeral, if I read you correctly.

Here are my random thoughts, from the East Coast perspective:

For the past 20 years or so, the only direct requests for money have been donations to an education fund for children of the deceased; in the event, for example, of the death of a parent of young children. Frankly, I have found some of these requests shocking -- in the cases of a few co-workers who were making good salaries and would have had large life insurance payouts, not to mention well-heeled families. Honestly, I resented these requests, as I had my own child to educate.

But more recently, I've seen requests in obituaries for direct contributions to the family. Not knowing the circumstances of each family, I can't judge, but it just seems generally to be in poor taste. When I think someone might need help with funeral expenses, say for the sudden death of a spouse or child, I send them a check with my card and tell them to use the money however they would like (even if they have specified a charity in lieu of flowers).

I had to bear the entire cost of my mother's funeral alone, and she had no money to cover it. I did receive some unsolicited donations from friends, family and in one case, an anonymous donation of cash. I certainly appreciated it. But I never would dreamed of asking for donations.

There is a website called gofundme.com that is used quite often to raise money for funerals, especially for young people with no life insurance. I just saw a request for help with the funeral of a young woman, and they have already exceeded their goal of $10,000. Young people generally don't worry about the propriety of asking directly for money.

If the family member dies and you do request money, be prepared for questions about whether the deceased had life insurance or assets which could have paid for the funeral. As you can see from the above responses, some people have no problem with it, but others do view it as somewhat greedy.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:23 PM
Location: WY
4,908 posts, read 3,485,331 times
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Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I'm not sure if it's actually another gravely ill relative. I interpreted the OP as looking ahead to when the relative dies, if a collection can be taken up for those who have been caring for the deceased.

If it offends anybody's sensibilities, then make the request, and use it for the burial. Then the caregivers can use money that has hopefully been put aside for a funeral however they need to.

I don't think it's in poor taste at all, if phrased that way. I'd much rather make a donation than send an overpriced floral arrangement that is going to waste in 24 hours.
After re-reading the OP, I think you're right and I misread it.

1. If no pre-arrangements have been made and the money genuinely IS for the burial of their family member, then the "in lieu of flowers, donations towards burial expenses etc. etc" would be fine.

2. If the money is going specifially towards two unemployed adults who cared for this person, then I still think it's a really crappy idea. Your sentence above (that I highlighted) wouldn't change the fact that adults are using the excuse of a death to ask for money for themselves. Your idea (as well as others who have also responded) would be to "word carefully" or "gently mislead" so that the begging either a) doesn't p*ss people off or b) doesn't make people aware that they are giving money under false pretences.

After re-reading this entire thread, I am now unsure which of 1 or 2 the OP's question applies to. Clarification please.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:51 PM
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I can't believe that just because something seems gauche to some people, or "not done," that you'd recoil, sniff, and not give what a family most needs when someone in said family dies.

Someone mentioned, "Don't have a funeral." Okay, but even cremation costs a heck of a lot. It costs a lot to die, period. It's a money-making business. If you're out of a job, what are you going to do? Throw them in the back yard? Keep them in the house or in a garage, God forbid, because you can't afford to bury them and hope you die yourself before the police find out?

Some people literally live from check to check, and even that isn't enough, but it ISN'T enough for government assistance. I've lived like that, and every day was scary. I lived ALONE like that for many years.

Kindness. Be kind. Times like these are not the times to squabble about whether to send a $50 or $150 flower arrangement that also dies and costs money, time, and trouble to get rid of, a donation to a charity or foundation, or a donation to the memory of the deceased, i.e., the family who must pay for the proper disposal of the deceased.

If the family indicates a need for memorial expenses due to family financial difficulties, even if it seems "unseemly" to you or is not worded quite as fittingly, appropriately, or properly as you'd prefer, send your $50 or $150 or even $5 to the family anyway, directly, and see that they get it.

Where is compassion anymore? I give up.

Last edited by Tobiashen; 03-08-2014 at 07:54 PM.. Reason: added a word
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:05 PM
16,476 posts, read 17,501,756 times
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Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
I'm surprised by the answers so far -- I would find it really, really bizarre to be asked to give money to surviving adults.

Yeah but buying flowers and wreaths and condolences cards is just wasted money IMO. It all gets tossed. This is why I give gift cards not flowers or cards. I rather give a $50-$100 gift card to a person to buy something they will enjoy rather than flowers they will toss after a week or two. (I'm speaking general not this instance) The money can be used to cover some of the cost of the funeral especially if the family is poor.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:41 PM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
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My father came from a family of Irish Catholic coal miners. To say they were often hard up, but always helped each other and neighbors in their community, would be an understatement. It was not at all unusual for them to give cash to a bereaved family, just as they would give cash to a bride. In fact, when my father's niece lost her adult son to cancer recently the first thing my mother said to me was, "We need to send her a check. Heaven knows the expenses she will have because I don't think her son had very good insurance."

This might be tacky in some cultures. In the one I come from it's called "taking care of your own" and no one's insulted when it's suggested that the community help the family of the deceased. It's not as if they're asking for donations from strangers. They're asking people who knew the deceased and will have some concern for his or her family to direct their memorial to something truly useful.

Now in this particular case, I understood the OP to say that a loved one of the deceased person is currently in dire straights and is being cared for by a couple of relatives who are currently unemployed. Sounds like poor-folks' common sense to me. If they can't find a job, they're in a position to pitch in because a family member is in need.

I would suggest to the OP: open a savings account at a local bank in the name of the person who is ill. Put in the death notice, "In lieu of flowers, the family of Sean O'Brien requests that memorial contributions be directed to O'Brien Family Medical Support Fund at the Hibernian Credit Union, 123 Killarney Street, Chicago, IL." If Sean's family wants to spend the money paying his caregivers, it's no one's business. I have seen similar done in several of the states I've lived in, not merely in my family. For example if a young person dies, contributions are often suggested for a scholarship fund in the name of the deceased's siblings. This is not such an unusual thing and I'm sure most community banks, S&Ls, and credit unions would have a procedure. They will direct checks sent to them, marked for the support fund, to the appropriate account.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:55 PM
Location: Maryland
158 posts, read 177,120 times
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I have never heard of giving money to the family and we would be appalled if someone tried to give us money. We would return it. We have ordered flowers, called, sent momentos, and made meals for the family. Giving them money sounds down right insulting.

Flowers are a way of telling the family that you're thinking of them and you cared enough to send them flowers.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:57 PM
Location: Maryland
158 posts, read 177,120 times
Reputation: 191
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
The phrase "Memorials to the family" means that the funeral IS a fund raiser.
I agree! "Memorials to the family" sounds like a demand for money to the family. Yuck, tacky, tacky, tacky. I would throw such a request right into the trash and send a donation to a charity that I knew the deceased had an interest in.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:04 PM
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The only time I could see it as being appropriate is if the family had incurred expenses on behalf of the deceased. In effect, the money would go towards paying those expenses. Or else, if there are surviving children who might need assistance with college funds.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:04 PM
Location: Maryland
158 posts, read 177,120 times
Reputation: 191
Originally Posted by juneaubound View Post
That phrasing would be fine if that was the case, but based on what the OP wrote, that is NOT the case. They want to ask for money because they are unemployed and taking care of another gravely ill relative. It is highly inappropriate and in very poor taste to ask the grievers of someone who has died, to pay the living expenses of adults. No. Just no. No matter how much lipstick you put on it.
What she said ^! This tackiness is NOT a southern thing! Some of my southern family were poor, but never did they ask mourners to pay for funerals or to give money to adults out of work. Families took care of their own and kept looking until they got jobs.
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