Should I Allow My Husband & My Inlaws Guilt To Empty Bank Account

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011
Should I Allow My Husband & My Inlaws Guilt To Empty Bank Account
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 8:41pm

My husbands sister just died of a heart attack and they are in the mist of making the arrangements. His sister had been homeless and had been living in shelters and most recently she was taking care of this sick elderly woman in the womans home in order to have a place to live and she hated it.

Non of her siblings including my husband would allow her to live with them, even her own son who had a three bedroom house with three levels would not only not let her live with him but would not even allow her to visit or know where he lived. Admittedly she had emotional issues that made it had to deal with her, but no one even tried to get her mental help, they simply avoided her and said she was crazy.

Now his family is trying to have this expensive funeral, her son only has $4000 and the funeral they want to have cost almost $8000 and they are asking everyone to chip in. The problem is my husband is self employed and his business has been very slow and I am disabled and on disability and have been paying almost all the bills because my husband has not been working.

My husband has no money to contribute and wants me to take $800 out of my money to give to his family because he does not want to tell his family he does not have the money and we can't afford it. My position is...they did not care enough about her to give her a place to live or try to get her mental help while she was alive and now they want to give her this expensive funeral to put on a show for the public eye.

I know they can have her cremated for less than $4000 and have a nice memoral service for far less than $8000 and  I can't see giving $800 of my money that I need for my bills because my inlaws want to give my sister inlaw this expensive funeral because they feel guilty about how they treated her in life. Am I wrong for feeling like this or should I bite the bullet and give up the money even though we can't afford it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

I stood firm and my husband did end up telling them he could not afford to contribute and they some how found the money and had the funeral. After the bad behavior at the family meeting it made it much easier for my husband to tell them the truth and not feel bad about.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2011
keepingitreal1 wrote:

My husband does feel guilty and is taking it really hard and his pride has prevented him from telling his family we can't afford to contribute.  One sister tried to hijack the meeting, shooting down everyone's suggestions and telling the son of the deceased  sister to shut up, so people left the meeting angry with nothing settled.


I wouldn't empty my bank account to appease the one bully sister. This is her big idea, let her pay for it.

If your husband feels that guilty and has that much pride,then perhaps he could take an odd job or sell some stuff on EBAY or something to raise the cash needed.

I feel like by having you pay, he's taking the easy way out. He's just putting up an appearance and not really dealing much like the sister is putting up an appearance with the fancy funeral. 

If you pay for this you are enabling this behavior.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004
I wouldn´t empty my bank account for that.
Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004

No, you do not have to give money toward this funeral especially since you can't afford it.

If the family wants to spend $8K then that's their choice. And they can work out a payment plan with the funeral home.

It would be irresponsible of you and your DH to take money you don't have for this "elective expense" that no one can afford.

They need to downsize the funeral and keep it simple. It sounds like they feel guilty and now they're trying to make up for it with a fancy funeral.

 The living need to pay their bills.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004

First let me explain that I personally think spending big money on a funeral is totally unnecessary and basically silly.  I checked out the local laws and found out I would be able to leave the crematorium in a zip lock bag so nobody would have to pay for a container for my cremains.  This is MY personal belief...that once the person is dead, the body is merely a formerly-used shell and I realize not everybody feels that way.

BUT, in this case, I would have a serious talk with my husband about WHY he feels a need to put that much money into the pot.  If he truly feels he "needs" to do it for his own reasons (not just because his family expects it), then I would do it.  Dealing with a death is such a complicated matter for so many people, and dealing with guilt, loss and family disagreements after having lost one's sister might just be too much for him.  He may be so wrapped up in guilt he may never forgive you for not "supporting" his poor, lost, "crazy" sister by giving her one big "splash" now that she's gone. 

Maybe, in his heart, he always wanted to help her but grew up in a family that threw her away and was afraid to go against them.  Maybe he thinks he could/should have done more for her and somehow sees this is making up for what he didn't do while she was alive.  If, in his heart of hearts, he will be able to accept her life and death more easily if he donates to "the big splash" and it will give him peace in the future, then I would think of the money as a good investment for my husband's peace of mind.

But, if he says he's doing it not to make the others mad or because he somehow wants to be a part of "covering up" their having dumped her from their lives in the eyes of their friends, then I would be a whole lot less inclined to put in ANY money towards this. 

His family sounds like they aren't very honest with each other and don't take care of their own, so I doubt this funeral will change anything.  You're in a tough spot, I understand SOME of what he may be feeling, but I also see where YOU are coming from.  I suggest an honest non-angry heart to heart talk with hubby about what you can actually afford to donate and how much he might be willing to reduce the amount given the current economic times.   Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

My husband does feel guilty and is taking it really hard and his pride has prevented him from telling his family we can't afford to contribute. He did suggest a less expensive package but his family would hear none of it. The meeting ended abruptly when his family members starting fighting among themselves. One sister tried to hijack the meeting, shooting down everyone's suggestions and telling the son of the deceased  sister to shut up, so people left the meeting angry with nothing settled.

They had another meeting last night and I didn't go. My husband came in very late last night and left very early  this morning so I don't know what happened in that meeting.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

I agree that the family probably wants to make a fancy funeral to assuage their guilt about how they treated her while she was living. Is your husband feeling guilty or feeling like her wants to give his sister this expensive funeral, or does he think they should find a less expensive alternative?

You are absolutely correct that a cremation and nice meaningful memorial can be done for a lot less than $4K--we've done it twice in the past 8 years. I don't think you are wrong to feel the way that you do, especially if you need the money for other things and will struggle if you give them the money. But as part of a couple you sometimes need to make sacrifices. Maybe a compromise that you pitch in $200 or something. A big question for me would be why dh doesn't want to be honest with the family and tell them that he/you two cannot afford to contribute what they're asking for.

IMO If they cannot afford a $8K funeral they should plan one that is within however much the family can afford; or the person(s) that insists on the fancy funeral should figure out how to pay for it by himself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
This is a tough situation. You're not wrong to feel the way you do....but is not giving the money the right thing for you and your husband? At times like this we run on emotions and we make difficult decisions but what happens to your family if you do give the money?? Everyone is so concerned how others see them including your husband. Everyone needs to be authentic and honest about what needs to be done or not done.

Good luck.