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Responsibility for memorial

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  • Responsibility for memorial

    I am the executor of my mother's estate. I have paid for the funeral, but my sister wants an ornate memorial costing 4000. We have a quote for 650 for a simple headstone. My mother left no specific instructions in her will and I am loath to pay out 4000 for this indulgence. Where do I stand legally and morally?
    Tags: burial, estate

  • #2
    Re: Responsibility for memorial

    Originally posted by Georgie23 View Post
    I am the executor of my mother's estate. I have paid for the funeral, but my sister wants an ornate memorial costing 4000. We have a quote for 650 for a simple headstone. My mother left no specific instructions in her will and I am loath to pay out 4000 for this indulgence. Where do I stand legally and morally?
    Hi welcome to LB.
    Sorry to hear of your loss!
    You have no obligation to contribute to the memorial, to my mind 4k is rather extravagant.
    Are you expected to pay all of this or just a proportion?

    nem
    The advice I give and draft letters provided are drawn from personal experience and career training and are given freely and without liability.

    Please make your own decisions with care and if necessary seek qualified legal advice. I will not advise by private message. If you'd like me to look at your post please tag me in your post by typing @nemesis45;.

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    Animo et fide.

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    • #3
      Re: Responsibility for memorial

      I think my sister wants the estate to pay the 4000. The residue of the estate is to be split 3 ways, so this would equate to 1333 per beneficiary. I accept the estate must pay something toward the memorial, and the 650 headstone would seem more acceptable. As executor can I refuse to release 4000?

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      • #4
        Re: Responsibility for memorial

        You can certainly veto such expenditure, who else has authority?

        nem
        The advice I give and draft letters provided are drawn from personal experience and career training and are given freely and without liability.

        Please make your own decisions with care and if necessary seek qualified legal advice. I will not advise by private message. If you'd like me to look at your post please tag me in your post by typing @nemesis45;.

        If you receive messages from anyone offering advice for a fee please report it to the site team.


        Animo et fide.

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        • #5
          Re: Responsibility for memorial

          As with Nem.
          The reasonable cost of a memorial headstone is a legal liability of the estate, and whilst the executor is responsible it would be wise to obtain all interested parties' agreement prior to taking a final decision.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Responsibility for memorial

            Thanks for the advice so far. I was mainly worried about the legal aspect of my sister insisting the whole 4000 must come out of the estate. This would be more than the whole funeral costs so far. Personally I would much prefer to pay 650 to engrave and replace the headstone.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Responsibility for memorial

              I completely appreciate your dilemma. This happened with my own mother – two of the 5 siblings wanted to erect a headstone that Wellington would have been overwhelmed by, 2 against and one ‘go with the flow’. This is trickier than a simple legal issue as you do not want the grand gesture brigade to have the opportunity to say ‘you did not love her as much as we did’. You may also have the dilemma, as I did, of knowing your mother would hate such an ostentatious monument.
              The best solution, although galling is to go with the majority vote. There are 3 of you so there should be no deadlock. Adding the ‘Mother would have hated that big monument’ will help your argument but do not let a financial situation cause a rift between you. As you have just discovered life is short and far too many families are torn apart over money.
              In our case, despite compromising , a major tone down and cost reduction, my Mother’s grave is adorned by a monument so big and flamboyant that I am always surprised not to see it bedecked with poppy wreaths in November but at least we are all still speaking to one another (and bitching behind each other’s backs!)

              An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire State Building, and after 50 floors says, 'So far so good'!
              ~ Anonymous

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Responsibility for memorial

                I agree with others here. It is certainly permissable (and indeed I would expect) the cost to be met from the estate.

                Is there not something halfway between a plain and simple headstone and the "glitzy" one your sister favours.

                Of course, if she wishes to pay the difference if she feels so strongly about it, there is nothing to prevent her doing so.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Responsibility for memorial

                  I agree and have been through exactly this situation.
                  If you are the sole executor, it's your duty to allocate the estate resources as you consider fit, within legal constraints.
                  Normal grave markings should come from estate assets. Anything else should come from the person who wants the extras.
                  I ended up having to take my brothers to the County Court over squabbles like this, but for vastly larger sums.
                  I never particularly liked them and this just brought out the worst in everyone.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Responsibility for memorial

                    I'm still waiting to hear what my brother thinks about all of this. I don't really want to get involved in a family feud about it though.
                    On a brighter note, had a letter today from the DWP, my submitted figures match their records and no further enquiries are necessary.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Responsibility for memorial

                      Well, that's good news. You certainly don't want the DWP on your back. Now, they really are a nasty shower.
                      If anything goes awry, you know where we all are.

                      Comment

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