The Original Poster (OP) navigates the treacherous waters of grief after his estranged wife’s passing, only to be thrust into a financial tug-of-war with her parents over funeral costs. As buried emotions resurface and unexpected invoices arrive, OP faces a crucial decision: pay or stand his ground.
The Ebbing Marriage
OP’s wife had passed away recently from liver failure. They had been legally separated for nearly two years and were in the midst of a divorce due to an affair and her alcoholism. Despite the pain, OP begged his wife to seek treatment.
OP helplessly watched his wife self-destruct and felt helpless to stop it. Multiple times, he tried to intervene, encouraging her to seek help or detox in an institution. She rejected all offers of help, seemingly determined to expedite her demise.
In the past, OP had accompanied his wife to countless medical appointments. Doctors had warned her time and again: stop drinking or face a premature death. Their predictions came to pass.
Although separated, their divorce was yet to be finalized. The one-year mandatory separation was extended when COVID struck and courts shut down. Through it all, OP let her remain on his medical insurance due to her health issues.
Years earlier, they had both taken out life insurance policies. Each policy was worth several hundred thousand dollars. After the separation, OP’s wife changed the beneficiary on her policy to her parents.
Taking the Reins
Following her death, OP’s in-laws led the funeral preparations. They chose a burial plot in her hometown, hundreds of miles away from where the couple once lived. But behind the scenes, they placed all financial responsibilities on OP.
OP was blindsided by an unexpected invoice indicating that he was to cover the funeral costs. This was only the beginning, with more expenses on the horizon. He felt trapped. OP confronted his wife’s mother about the invoices.
The Life Insurance Policy
The life insurance’s purpose was intended to handle the funeral costs, yet the mother’s response to OP’s questioning was a mix of evasion and manipulation. It was clear that the parents had no intention of using the life insurance money to pay for the burial or wake.
A Wealth of Assumptions
The parents justified their actions by claiming they lacked funds, an untrue statement. They banked on OP’s good financial standing and believed he would willingly cover the expenses, regardless of the circumstances.
Silence Speaks Volumes
After their initial conversation, the mother promised a follow-up Zoom call with both parents present to discuss the finances. Instead, OP received a terse and guilt-ridden text delaying the call to a later date. No call came.
Taking a Stand
Feeling exploited, OP drew a line. He agreed to cover a minor portion of the funeral but refused to sponsor the religious rites, the luncheon, and other aspects that didn’t align with his wife’s preferences.
OP made a difficult decision: he would not attend the funeral. He had bid his wife farewell during her final hospital days and felt that the ceremony was not for him but for the parents to say goodbye.
A Matter of Choice
While he had the means to cover all costs, OP chose not to be coerced into it. His actions were rooted in principles, not penny-pinching. OP was bothered by the religious rites, given his wife’s non-religious stance.
Not In Alignment
The luncheon venue was another thorn, being a place OP’s wife disliked. The funeral seemed more for the parents than a tribute to his wife. Amidst the chaos, OP had made peace with his wife’s death, reflecting on their time together and trying to move forward.
Exploitation and Emotions
Though the funeral was a time of mourning, OP couldn’t shake off the feeling of being used. His goodwill was mistaken for weakness, and he was thrust into a role he didn’t choose. OP wrestled with the dilemma of what was right.
Was The Husband’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posted his story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “If you were still the beneficiary of her life insurance plan, I’d have a completely different stance. But her funeral should be paid from her life insurance policy.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “You’ve already paid for the funeral when you paid for the insurance. If anything, it’s crazy they’re getting any money at all.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Whoever is the beneficiary of the life insurance policy should be the one purchasing and paying for the funeral costs of the deceased.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “The minute you pay even one dollar, you agree that the bill is yours. They have NO legal agreement from you to pay. Do not pay anything!”