The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult situations you will ever have to deal with in your life. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t do can be difficult. Oftentimes, it seems like no matter what you do or say it turns out the wrong way. One of the most touchy aspects of death is money. So, you might be wondering should you send money with a sympathy card? It’s a good question. Let’s find out the answer.
Should You Send Money with a Sympathy Card
Before you write a check or put cash into a sympathy card, you need to give some thought to the specific details of the death.
There are times it makes sense and is seen as a good thing to give a monetary gift, and sometimes it’s not the best option.
Here are some of the times it makes sense to give.
1. The Major Earner of the Family Died
If the deceased was the major breadwinner of the family then their death could put their partner and children in a financial bind.
Even if they had insurance it may not cover everything.
Also, it can take some time to receive insurance money, so a cash gift could go a long way to helping the family make ends meet before they receive the insurance money.
Not to mention, a funeral can cost $10,000 dollars and many families simply don’t have the money to cover all the funeral expenses.
In these cases, cash gifts in sympathy cards can do more to help the grieving family than simple flowers.
2. The Deceased Has Minor Children
Things might get really difficult for a family when a parent passes and there are minor children in the household.
There are daily living costs as well as college to think about.
Not only are they going through a difficult time, their financial future just took a major hit.
A monetary gift can be a real blessing.
3. The Living Partner is on a Fixed Income
Death expenses can be a real blow for someone on a fixed income.
Social Security only pays $255 dollars towards a funeral. That’s not going to get anyone very far when it comes to funeral expenses.
Most people in this situation would be very thankful for a monetary gift.
4. The Family Actually Asks for Cash
Sometimes the family is upfront about the fact they are having financial difficulties and lets you know they need cash.
In this case, it makes sense to add money to a sympathy card.
There won’t be any misunderstandings and there won’t be any etiquette issues either.
5. If You Know they Will Have Trouble Paying for Funeral Costs
If the surviving partner is a close family member or friend and you know that they don’t have a lot of money and will have difficultly paying for the funeral costs, then go ahead and give them money.
It will take a lot of stress off of them.
6. You Know the Family is Already in a Difficult Financial Situation
This is similar to number five.
If you are close to the family and you know they are having a tough time even before the death, any money you give should be greatly appreciated.
Let Them Know What the Money is For
Be sure that in your note you let the person know what the money is for otherwise if they have a donation set up they may think the money is for the charity and not them.
Write a note that tells them the money is for them and what you’d like them to do with it.
This could be covering general expenses, helping with past expenses they incurred while the deceased partner was ill, or it could be for funeral expenses.
Just be clear so they know the monetary gift is for them.
If you mail sympathy cards, then be sure to use a check. If you are giving the person the card at the service then cash is better.
Just don’t talk about the money at that time. Their mind is on their loved one.
Also, in your message on the card don’t make it all about the gift of money. Let them know how much the person that passed meant to you.
Share a little memory.
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How Much Money Should You Give?
This is going to be completely up to you.
Take into consideration your own personal financial situation as well as your friend’s or family members.
Don’t give so much that you put yourself into a tough spot, but be as generous as you can be.
Are There Times You Shouldn’t Give Money?
If you are unfamiliar with the religious customs of the deceased you need to be careful. Not all religions or cultures find the giving of money as a good thing.
If in doubt, contact someone that would know what is proper and what isn’t. You’ll find that most clergy will be happy to help.
You could also contact someone else in the deceased family.
If you decide giving money in a sympathy card isn’t the way to go, consider waiting a couple of weeks and then reaching out to your friend or family member.
The stress of the funeral will be behind them and it will be easier to have a conversation about finance.
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To Sum it All Up:
A card with money is usually seen in a positive light. Just be sure the person you’re giving it to understands what it is for and why you are giving them the money in your note.