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When Widowed, Are In-laws In Or Out ?

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by Hopikrishnan, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Platinum IL'ite

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    During the year 2020 there had been a few funerals. I could only go to one, and attend the others on zoom-like app. It had been a sad year.

    One good friend of the family has lost her husband. They had both lived and worked in America for more than 30 years, and have three children settled in USA as well. No financial issues for the widow. She has medical insurance, and a few years to get to medicare eligibility age. Fully paid suburban house, lots of savings, investments they had jointly owned, and his retirement accounts (IRA, 401K) fully moving to her name smoothly.

    In a recent conversation, we had talked about all those money, life, future issues. She had stopped the monthly money-wires that her husband was sending to his family in India.... widowed mother living with a brother's family, and a sister's family. Apparently she has not been in talking terms with her in-laws over more than a decade. And she also did not speak the in-law's language.

    After the zoom-chat, I wondered whether the widow should have continued the money-wire to the dead-H's mother, but discontinued the sister-in-law. After all, her dH had left behind a substantial sum. The widow could easily afford to continue. Anyhow... as I do not know the history of what had gone before in her personal relationships with the IL's, I didn't express my opinion.
    1. Should in-law relation continue after the demise of a partner ?
    2. Especially in such money-transfer or gift-giving protocols ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
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  2. Ruby2019

    Ruby2019 Silver IL'ite

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    I would think that’s it’s dependant on which stage of their life they are in..at this old age, I would think it’s responsible to continue what your husband would have done especially if you can easily afford it..it’s heartbreaking enough for a mother to see her offspring go before her and to have financials cut off as well, it will be difficult. To the brother and sister, I would not. At least bare minimum to ensure that the mother has a roof over her head. Even if she’s not on talking terms, I would think that maybe her kids can give to their nani.

    However, if this was a rather younger family, I would be inclined to stop. I would think holding on ties with the in laws in any manner would stop you from moving on. I would think the young widow deserves a shot at life again and feel like ILs will be a barrier and it will just be an uncomfortable situation as you will still feel obliged to them.
     
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  3. Janakinarne

    Janakinarne Silver IL'ite

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    I think she can support her in-laws if they are totally dependent on there money like dy r not getting any pention nor any fixed income source like rent or something monthly wise,and no need to entertain others it’s not her responsibility to take care of her H sister or brother,they should look for some resources,should not b burden to her ,and u r friend can help them as a whole amount if dy r in struggles and should inform dm she can’t help more dn dt and should tel dm not to look for any help frm her..
    Cming to in-laws she can afford dre expenses so rather than monthly expenses she can send 6mons once or yearly once ,bcoz her H als equal responsibility to take care of dre parents now he s no more and dy r looking fir some help frm her which is not a big task to her..
    Hope ur frnd may rethink abut her decision ..
     
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  4. Needtobestrong

    Needtobestrong Platinum IL'ite

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    I think it's her personal decision.. after all her husband s money is her money too...though she can support her in laws if financially secure, she also may be thinking of her future ahead and possible medical expenses in future and may prefer to not depend on children for expenses and not have financial commitments of sending money to in laws...
    Not necessary to support her husband's siblings
    If she has not been in talking terms with them and they didnt treat her well, I can understand why she is not inclined to continue sending money...
     
    Hopikrishnan likes this.
  5. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Worked more than 30 years? While it is always sad when a child passes away before the parent, the man was no spring chicken when he kicked the bucket. If he wanted his mother and siblings to continue receiving help after his death, he could have made arrangements for that. If he did, then the widow should honor those arrangement whether they were official ones or just a wish he expressed to her.
    Depends on the equation the widow and the adult children have with the man's family.

    If the man asked for the money help to continue, that should be honored. If he left it to the widow's discretion, she should do as she pleases.

    On another note, not all people will like to receive financial help from the widow after their son or brother passes away. The widow should take that also into account if she decides to continue giving the help.
     
  6. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    There are no blanket rules. It really depends on each individual situation.
    Does the man's family really need the money to survive or was it just a nice extra that their son sent? As Rihana points out the arrangements could have been made to keep the money flowing. Did they treat the DIL decently and the DIL was a virago who cut relations? Or did they act badly and cause the DIL to distance herself? Without the spouse around to buffer relations the equation often changes.
    In any event after so many years of receiving dollar remittances one would hope they have put away enough to live comfortably without depending on more. Something tells me that all might not have been hunky-dory if the payments stopped as soon her as spouse was gone.
     
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  7. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes. My thoughts went that way too. I had said "do they want it ?", and she went "probably.." The language gap (the indian in-laws speak Telugu, the-widow/children don't) is not a help in their communications.

    I understood that her & her children's relations/connections to the in-law family members are tenuous at best. None of them speak her husband's native language Telugu. Her husband had been visiting India once every few years, by himself most often, because his wife/children had better ideas for spending their free time.
    Thanks... I had forgotten about this roof aspect of the post-mortal mess.

    Apparently he had bought and owned a house in India, where his mother and brother's family continue to live. We all know that this sort of thing, NRI buying house and planting parents or relatives in them, is not all that uncommon.

    Although I was curious about this house information , I did not ask follow ups. I had such a lot of questions crop up in my brain:
    1. If the house in India is part of the estate of the dH, what is its value for the US estate-tax and probate process ?
    2. would she require an indian lawyer and court proceedings (like we have in USA when probate property is owned in another state) to deal with this?
    3. who has been paying taxes and maintenance costs on the property in India ?
    4. and more...etc...
    This is true; I am often amazed at how many in the Indian middle class live to a very old age, decades past the life span averages we see on the statistical tables about countries and life expectancies. I am sure that the deadman's siblings are also "up there" in age.
    I thought this as well; perhaps on a relative scale, the desi-branch may be less well off. However, the issue about the house made me think that the situation may not be too bad. The recent thread about money-loss (@mangaii ) to in-laws also made me think about local bank account/s, their balances, and dispositions; but, I don't know about these. I would guess that my friend would have certainly named someone in the bank's records, likely his brother or mother, to have the monies when he is no more.

    When one has seen a day or two, we normally assume we know a thing or two; but there is always something new, and differently twisted that comes up and surprises us.
     
  8. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Gold IL'ite

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    in my experience, relationships with inlaws side barely continues after the son/brother/daughter/sister is long gone except if they had a decent relation during that deceased person's lifetime.

    in my case we only have a namesake relation with my mom's side of the family today even though hers was a very big family . but the fact is they never bothered about her when she was alive but always provided lip service. it was my mom who always wanted to be with them till her last days but they always had excuses . even then my mom would force my father to send them money whenever they needed which i think my father no longer does that anymore. we are also not emotionally attached to them at all. on the other hand even though my fathers side had all the ils issues with my mom we cant deny that they did help us. and they do maintain contact and try to keep up with the relation. i would continue to help only if the money is needed for their survival and emergencies , anything more is squarely dependent on the kind of warmth or the lack of it during the lifetime .

    recently i have observed something similar and little different at the same time when my friend lost her husband early this year. she only had a very formal hi bye relationship with the H's siblings who lived close by all these years but ILs only preferred to stay at friends home until they passed away and only visit other kids for a week or a so in a year. after her ils and husband left she had no strong bonds with his siblings from the past to rely on but they actually are trying to form a bond now , helping more , talking more . even though there are still a lot of issues its still much better than what i expected .

    i know my examples are opposite to the scenario you mentioned but such continuation of relationship with ils is a two way street.
     
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  9. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes... I remember your thread from a couple of month or so ago...and many members responding about financial planning, wills and probate. This American family here does not have any children involved. The widow is upper middle class in her own right. I was surprised that she had a mother-in-law in her eighties or may be, early nineties, still around in India. Perhaps the local care taker bahu (herself likely an old woman) is the long suffering one. Perhaps TV drama's leave us with the idea that all posh, and well-fed saas types live long and pester their bahu's. And only poor, malnourished, god-fearing ones are good ones.

    I hope to find out more about the house, just for my own information. In our country (I mean USA) when we own a house in one state, but live and die in another, there are complications for the surviving spouse in the inheriting process if the house is not jointly owned, but owned only in the name of the dead person. This issue gets messier if the house is in a foreign country with their rules. Anyhow... que sera sera.
     
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  10. sonal1611

    sonal1611 Gold IL'ite

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    There is other way too... If widow need help from in-laws for kids / secure her future.. they wont help .. as they see their son died.. so no more relations .. why to do.. and all..

    So i think its both way ..

    n in ur case .. H already did good for his mother and brother..

    so I think she is just taking care of herself/her kids future..
     
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