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Santa's bolt from the blue
Old 12-26-2007, 12:42 PM   #1
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Santa's bolt from the blue

Salutations to all, and a Happy, Happy New Year!

If I seem perky today it's because I had a GREAT Christmas dinner with family and friends. I cooked for days and am exhausted, but everyone loved the food and each other, so it was worth it.

Second reason for good cheer -- my Aunt (father's sister) and Uncle gave me a BIG check for Christmas!

Now, my darling partner will tell you that I'm the only person who could make this into something to fret about, but here's the story.

My father's forebears were all poor farmers, but this one Aunt made it big. She and her husband built a big business, worked like dogs, sold it for a grillion dollars, then retired to the good life. Fast-forward 20 years -- she's got Alzheimers and they've decided to use their money "in the present" and give to charities and family. They have no kids themselves -- so big checks went out this year to me, my siblings, and my parents.

This was a HUGE surprise. My father and his sister have never been all that close (having grown up in an orphanage from the time he was six). I have met my Aunt and Uncle exactly ONCE in my life. (My siblings haven't met them at all.) I am floored.

So, my question -- how do I properly thank people I don't know? A card and/or phonecall seem ridiculous and inadequate given the size of the gift. At the same time, I don't want to do anything that would smack of a bid for more of the same, (but maybe I'm too sensitive on this point).

It occurred to me to give some portion in their name to the Alzheimer's association, but they could do that themselves and would perhaps be reminded of her condition... Maybe a gift to another charity they support? but maybe that wouldn't go over well...

I'm pretty sure I'm overthinking this...

Can anyone think of a gracious way of sending my thanks?

Has anyone here ever gotten a windfall from a distant relative, and how have you handled it?

Has anyone here ever SENT a windfall to a distant relative, and how were you thanked for it?
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Old 12-26-2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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perhaps "WHOA! THANKYOU!"
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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If she takes pleasure in gifting it to you for your own enjoyment, perhaps it is unnecessary and perhaps even counter to her desires to gift it right back to her or her favorite charity. I wonder if she wouldn't be happier to see you use it for your own security.

A genuine sincere thank you note might be appreciated.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:26 PM   #4
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I second the sincere note and also send a large bouquet of flowers.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:31 PM   #5
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Can anyone think of a gracious way of sending my thanks?
I would go to their house, get a hotel room, and visit. I would not worry about what thoughts your sibs might have; the givers are not going to be offended by being visited. At least I sure wouldn't.

BTW, congrats on your bonus! It shows that good surprises do happen, at least form your own vantage point.

Ha
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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A handwritten heartfelt thank you note would be appropriate and, I'm sure, welcome....

Congratulations. The best thing to do is accept their gift graciously. Much of their pleasure is in the giving.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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Tell them how you put this money to good and how it will change your life; view of the world; and that you will try to be as generous to someone else as they have been to you.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:23 PM   #8
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Hey, if anyone wants to send me a big check, I will arrive in your city ready to make your breakfast, cut your lawn, drive you on your errands or even do them for you.

I will do these things for even a moderately large check.

Ha
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Old 12-26-2007, 03:04 PM   #9
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I second the sincere note and also send a large bouquet of flowers.
Ditto, and congratulations Caroline!
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:14 PM   #10
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Tell them how you put this money to good and how it will change your life; view of the world; and that you will try to be as generous to someone else as they have been to you.
I agree completely. Put your thoughts on paper and let them know how much you appreciate how they've changed your life.

Several years ago, I heard that one of my Dad's cousins -- a lovely, gracious woman I had met only a few times -- had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and wasn't expected to live very long. I was saddened and didn't know what, if anything I should/could do, but I felt compelled to do something. So I wrote her a letter, telling her how much I enjoyed our short visits and that she was in my thoughts and prayers. And as my Dad often spoke about some of the crazy childhood exploits that she and my Dad shared, I also thanked her for giving my Dad such fond memories.

About a month later, I was surprised to get a package in the mail from her, containing a beautiful gold bracelet that she had owned for years, along with a note asking me to "take care of it" for her. A few months later, when she died, her husband took me aside at the funeral and thanked me for reaching out to her by mail. He smiled as he told me that she decided to give the bracelet to me because of my letter.
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:21 PM   #11
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I got this from an Uncle. We sent a thank you note. We also make sure that he is on every mailing list we have. He gets both Christmas cards and postcards from all the trips that we go on. He thinks that they are neat. We have been doing this for about 10 years now.
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:50 PM   #12
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Make the point of a personal visit.

Indicate to her that this has made a meaningful contribution to your life and that she will be remembered for her kindness.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:37 PM   #13
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So how much was it? $48K (max taxable allowed), or do you have to pay the tax man his 50%?
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:53 PM   #14
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So how much was it? $48K (max taxable allowed), or do you have to pay the tax man his 50%?
It doesn't quite work that way, but in any event it is the giver's responsibility to pay the tax if any is due at this time, which is doubtful.
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