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by Abigail Van Buren

Leftover GoFundMe Money Should Help Others in Need

DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to the Oct. 25 letter from "Maria in California" regarding the leftover money in her late husband's GoFundMe account.

If more than enough is contributed to help someone in need pay their medical expenses, that money is not intended to be "income" for the recipient's family. You rightly suggested considering her husband's wishes, but the contributors' intent was to help a needy person pay medical expenses. Any leftover funds should be donated to a nonprofit organization with similar goals, perhaps a free medical clinic for low-income patients or an organization that provides free or reduced-cost housing for families who travel to medical centers for a loved one's treatment. Family members should not profit from generous donors who intended to help pay a needy individual's medical bills. -- GLEN IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR GLEN: Thank you for your comment. Other readers disagreed with my answer and said that Maria and her family should "pay it forward." Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Regarding which family member is "entitled" to the leftover funds from Maria's terminally ill husband's GoFundMe account: I say none of them. People donated money to help defray the costs of treating the husband's illness. Now those have been paid, it is unseemly (a money grab) and unethical (fraud) to assume remaining funds can be used by either the widow or the daughter. The money wasn't given to them!

The solution is to donate the remaining funds to the disease research, hospice, medical facility, or any other cause near and dear to the deceased's heart. That way, there is no conflict of interest, no impropriety, and it's the right thing to do. -- MO IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR ABBY: "Maria in California" asked what to do with leftover money raised on GoFundMe for her husband who has passed away. I would have suggested she go back to the GoFundMe site and find some other families in need and donate the money to them. -- MARION IN UTAH

Read more in: Money | Death | Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics