Should a recently widowed sister pay as much for a family gift as her brothers and sisters and their wives

Should a recently widowed sister pay as much for a family gift as her brothers and sisters and their spouses?


Six months ago our sister lost her husband who left her more financially comfortable than some of her brothers and sisters.

We are planning to give a 200.00 birthday gift to one of our brothers. Our sister said we should split it 7 ways instead of 4 since she no longer has a husband.

At the same time she told us she is now receiving nearly the same income as when her husband was alive but now has half the expenses and less tax to pay.

Some of us think it is fine to split 7 ways, others think she can more than afford the 28.00 dollar difference. Her cost will be either 28 or 50 dollars.

Thank you in advance for your insight.

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Gifts & Family
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Sister,

There is no right or wrong answer to resolve this issue. If all the siblings cannot agree to the same split you will have to find another way to divide the expenses for your brother’s gift. Generosity cannot be dictated but neither can tolerance. Whatever your sister decides can either be accepted by the others as her full contribution or refused causing a family rift. From the etiquette perspective, fighting over payment for a gift is rather tasteless.

Ms Practical Etiquette

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