Debate Soars as Woman Returns Over $4,000 Found in New Home: 'Yours Now'

A woman who discovered over $4,000 when renovating her kitchen has taken to the internet to share the story and has received hundreds of amazed comments.

Shared on popular discussion site Mumsnet on Monday, user ElizabethDarcy88 from the U.K. told the story: "Today after having [our] old kitchen ripped out. Our fitter found [a] hidden box and inside was £4,000 ($4,806) in cash. We have informed the solicitor who managed the house sale (it was a probate house sale), what do you think will happen?"

A probate sale is a process executed when a person dies and a property is sold to divide the money among beneficiaries.

But the honesty of the new homeowner has shocked many Mumsnet users who headed to the comments to share their thoughts.

"You're more honest than me," wrote one user. While another said: "That was good of you to do so, many wouldn't and I can't hand on heart say I'd do the same."

Money on sidewalk and renovation work
A file photo of some lost cash, left, and a picture of kitchen renovations, right. A woman sharing how she has declared over $4000 found during her kitchen fitting has sparked debate online. yalcinadali/Lisa5201/Getty Images

Others were completely confused by the woman's actions. One commenter wrote: "I think it's yours—you bought the house! Don't know why you'd contact the solicitor," while another said: "If you found toxic waste, it would be up to you to dispose of it. Honestly, I would have kept my mouth shut and put it towards your kitchen."

Found under the curtain by the sink, the money inside the box consisted of now out-of-circulation British sterling bank notes. "Part of me wishes that we weren't so honest," joked the poster.

When it comes to finding cash, many cite the age-old "finders keepers," but whether to keep found money and what to do with it brings up a range of both ethical and legal questions.

In the U.S., every state has laws requiring the return of money or property where it is possible to identify the owner—for example, if you find a wallet full of cash with an ID card it must be returned. If the owner is not easily found most states require that the finder contact local law enforcement who will try and contact them and give them ample time to claim it.

Where an owner cannot be identified, for example, if you were to find an envelope of cash on the floor, things can be a little more complicated. Laws and ordinances usually require that a person finding money, especially where it is $100 or more, should turn it over to the local police. If no one claims it after a certain period of time, the police can then give it to the finder to keep.

Laws and rules differ in different areas, and if you find money you should always check local laws and contact an attorney or the police. Where a law requires the money should be turned over, it is important to do so as keeping it could leave you liable to be charged for larceny or theft.

"I think you did the right thing," said another commenter. "I would worry no good would come of it if I kept it."

But others disagreed and said they would have kept quiet about the money. One Mumsnet user said: "You should have kept quiet! You buy the house as it is! It's yours now. Now there will be a battle between the old owners about it. Costly mistake."

"No way I'd have declared that," said one reply.

Another commenter wrote: "I would have spent it so fast it would be like it was never there at all."

While the poster was still waiting on answers after handing the money over to the proper authorities, many replies praised her for their honest actions.

"I think you've done the right thing legally and morally," said one Mumsnet user.