Dear Abby: When GoFundMe money outlives the patient, use it to do good

Readers disagree with Abby’s suggestion that surviving family could keep the remaining cash.

SHARE Dear Abby: When GoFundMe money outlives the patient, use it to do good

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 the 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

• • •

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have been together for four years. I love him very much, but there are times when he lectures me, and I get tired of it. Then about an hour later — maybe sooner — he will come and say, “I’m sorry.” I’m getting frustrated because he’s always “sorry.” There are times I just roll my eyes and wait. What can I do or say when he comes back to apologize when he always makes it my fault? — FRUSTRATED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: What is going on is a red flag, and you should recognize it as such. That your fiance talks down to you, and then says he’s sorry but it was your fault, isn’t an apology. It’s a lame excuse for his bad (verbally abusive) behavior. Please carefully examine what is really going on in your relationship before it begins to affect your self-esteem, and possibly rethink this engagement.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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