Author Topic: Ethical dilemma  (Read 1098 times)

Offline Kiltpin

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #18 on: Friday 31 July 20 21:19 BST (UK) »
Wow, does it always get this heated?  I asked a simple question, not intending to start a war. There are two extremes here, let's discuss them, not fight.

I did initially say "Physically she is in good health, but her mind is sadly another matter."  We do have Power Of Attorney (POA) and I hadn't actually thought about applying that. However, I almost think that is irrelevant here. We can make financial decisions, residential decisions, health decisions, etc.  She is beyond caring about trivialities like letters from 50 years ago, but I do struggle ethically about the letter.

I photographed it and read it.  Am I a bad person?

Zaph

No
 

I agree with no, you are not a bad person. 

Regards 

Chas
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Offline Rena

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #19 on: Friday 31 July 20 22:08 BST (UK) »
Wow, does it always get this heated?  I asked a simple question, not intending to start a war. There are two extremes here, let's discuss them, not fight.

I did initially say "Physically she is in good health, but her mind is sadly another matter."  We do have Power Of Attorney (POA) and I hadn't actually thought about applying that. However, I almost think that is irrelevant here. We can make financial decisions, residential decisions, health decisions, etc.  She is beyond caring about trivialities like letters from 50 years ago, but I do struggle ethically about the letter.

I photographed it and read it.  Am I a bad person?

Zaph

No
 

I agree with no, you are not a bad person. 

Regards 

Chas

I certainly don't think you're a bad person either.  You asked a question and we all gave our personal opinions, which hopefully helped you make a decision you are happy with after you'd weighed up all the pros and cons

Best wishes,
Rena
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Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #20 on: Friday 31 July 20 22:49 BST (UK) »
I see no heat, nor fighting.

You asked for opinions, what you do is entirely up to you.
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Offline Colin Cruddace

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #21 on: Friday 31 July 20 23:27 BST (UK) »
As I see it, you are doing exactly what is expected. It is a family matter, irrespective of what Red Tape dictates. I have had the unfortunate experience of doing the same as yourself, as will many others. Keep on doing what you are doing, and I wish you well for your endeavours. More power to your elbow.

Curiosity is a very natural instinct and opening that letter is understandable. I would probably have done the same. But then I would have wondered why it was unopened, and why it had suddenly appeared (as a coaster).

One of the successes I had was going through old photographs and discussing them. The results were amazing, their old memories came flooding back where short term memories were practically non-existent. I would want to know why the letter was unopened, there must surely have been a reason, so perhaps a 'memory session' might give an answer.

The very best wishes to you,
Colin

Offline BenRalph

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #22 on: Saturday 01 August 20 09:32 BST (UK) »
At the start of the year the family had to sort out things from my grandma's flat as she was moving and she couldn't do it herself. There were receipts from 20 plus years ago and all sorts of stuff unopened. In a wardrobe were about 60 letters from my granddad which spanned their breakup till a court case involving my sibling and me (about a 6 year period) that nobody in the family knew about and that my grandma never spoke of.

The family didn't think it was in my grandma's best interest to mention them as it would bring worries to her that wouldn't be needed, my mum wanted to burn them, my uncle wanted me to have them and my sibling and I wanted them to try and get to know more about our granddad as we never really saw him after being infants. My mum and sibling read them in any order and made the conclusion that he was stalking her, but I read them in order and believe the idea was that he couldnt accept that she had finally left her after 30 years of marriage and wanted her back. It is a complicated story, and I was never really interested in him till a few months ago when I read the letters and now I have been trying to find more info on him.

So I would say keep the letter.

Offline Flattybasher9

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #23 on: Saturday 01 August 20 09:49 BST (UK) »
What was her state of mind in 1967?
If she was using it as a coaster, did she already know what it was, who it was from, and did she wish opened?
It seems on the face of it, Yes, Yes and NO.
It would seem that the letter has been in her possession for circa 53 years now.
An unopened letter from her late husband may be the only thing that she has, as direct contact with him from the past, plus, considering that she kept under her tea cup, which she would have used daily, she probably have wished it stayed that way.

Malky (giving a personal opinion)

Offline Zaphod99

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #24 on: Saturday 01 August 20 11:05 BST (UK) »
One thing I should clarify is that when I said I opened the letter, I meant that I removed the letter from an already unsealed envelope. With regards to why it was being used as a drinks mat, I think the family member would have just opened the drawer and used anything. Clearly she was aware that it would be a good idea to protect the table surface, but she would have used anything.  In 1967 she was totally OK.

One interesting thing that the letter did reveal is the nickname of another family member. We had always wondered at what age this happened, and the letter revealed that this name was in use before she was even two years old.

One thing I have discovered while caring for this relative is that you sometimes have to do things that in normal situations would not be acceptable. Occasionally you have to to tell untruths. Occasionally you have to give people guidance that you normally wouldn't. Also you can't help but laugh at some of the things that happen.

Zaph

Online IgorStrav

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #25 on: Saturday 01 August 20 11:30 BST (UK) »
One thing I have discovered while caring for this relative is that you sometimes have to do things that in normal situations would not be acceptable. Occasionally you have to to tell untruths. Occasionally you have to give people guidance that you normally wouldn't. Also you can't help but laugh at some of the things that happen.

Zaph

Yes, my Mum had dementia and in the difficult years before her death it was apparent that conversations which left her comfortable and reassured were much more important than applying absolute truth which in fact she was unable to appreciate.

I think it sounds as if you are doing a great job both for her and the rest of your family and your ethical concerns to “do the right thing” are commendable.

Well done and best wishes to you.

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Online chris_49

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Re: Ethical dilemma
« Reply #26 on: Saturday 01 August 20 11:52 BST (UK) »
After my father died I started looking after my mother's financial affairs - not via Power of Attorney, she still had "all her chairs at home" but because she had never taken any part in the financial matters of the household, never used the joint account, never written a cheque - my father took care of everything.

After he died I looked through the (unopened) official mail - it contained among other things two new and unsigned credit cards in his name. This was before pin numbers, and any visitor (there were a lot at the time) could have taken them, signed them and used them to run up thousands in debt before the next statement arrived.  So, yes, there are occasions when you might need to open other people's mail.

As to the OPs dilemma, the most ethical course has already been taken - it has been copied, but the original put in a safe place until the time comes, then it is a matter for the executors. No major issue here.
 
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