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  • When Two Heirs want the same Heirloom

    Here’s a sneak peek from my new book, How to Divide Your Family’s Estate and Heirlooms Peacefully and Sensibly, available on my website,

    Problem: Two of my siblings are fighting over the same heirloom.  How do you split that?

    Solution: When two or more are arguing over the same item(s), you have a few options, but ultimately it is up to the level of stubbornness of the people involved.

  • Solutions to Dividing a Loved One's Estate

    It is a difficult and trying experience when children and other heirs have to divide the personal belongings of their parents. Sometimes the resulting disagreements can last a lifetime.

    That is why I wrote my new book, How to Divide Your Family’s Estate and Heirlooms Peacefully & Sensibly. It takes you through the process of dividing up an estate and gives you sound advice on dealing with the all-too-common emotional and relational minefield that develops.

  • What Should I Keep When Cleaning Out Dad’s House?

    Don’t sell, give away, or donate anything until a professional has examined it. So many boomers throw away or give away personal possessions worth a fortune, simply because they don’t know the values. Tell everyone no until the appraiser has reviewed everything. The cost to pay a personal property appraiser is nothing compared to what you could find, not to mention the peace of mind it will give you! Keep the following:

  • Being Thankful in These Challenging Times

    With Thanksgiving near, long-ago recollections have flooded my mind: all my loved ones hovering around the kitchen picking on food morsels, family by the TV watching football, constant chatter at the dinner table, endless giggles and mischief we children always got into, and the fabulous feasts my mother and aunts prepared on this special day.

  • The Executor’s Role in an Estate

    You’ve been chosen as the executor for your parents’ estate, or you’ve selected the executor for your estate. What does the executor do? First, the executor must follow the provisions of the will, which is called fiduciary duty. This is a legal relationship between two parties, bearing the highest standard of care by the executor to the person who requested him or her. The executor cannot do what he or she wants to do, since the court oversees and must approve of the actions of the executor.

  • How to Find the Best Executor for Your Estate

    If there is truly a job that no one wants, it has to be executor of an estate. Being the executor requires great time and effort, and it is usually a thankless job. Mom and Dad, if you are choosing an executor, here are some suggestions. First, I recommend that you select an executor who is up to the challenge and has your best interests at heart. He or she shouldn't be a procrastinator or too advanced in age. Heirs or your children who will receive benefit from the estate are not usually the best choice.

  • Your Parents Need Protection!

    Occasional news stories sadden and disturb me, as elderly, well-meaning people continue to fall victim to clever scams and schemes. About a year ago, I gave my blog readers the following suggestions about protecting our parents and other elderly relatives. Please review these suggestions, and pass this information along to others, so together we can protect our elderly family and friends.

  • Can an Executor Change the Locks?

    Question: I am the executor for my mother, who just passed away. She is our last parent to die, and now her house and garage are unprotected. She had some caregivers toward the end of her life, so I don’t know who has keys to her house. Is it okay for me to change the locks?

    Answer: If you are the executor of your mother’s estate, you have a responsibility to protect all she owned until decisions can be made about dividing and disposing of her personal property.

  • Places to Find Hidden Treasure

    Many older people have a long-term distrust of banks and often hide their valuables in the strangest places. If your parents are European immigrants, they have an even greater tendency to do this, and if either parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s, they likely have hidden things and forgotten about them.

    Many seniors hide money and valuables that often go unnoticed in the liquidation of their estates. Here are the most common places where these valuables may be found:

  • 6 Practical Ways to Help Your Parents This Fall

    Now that the weather is cooling and the leaves are falling, here are six practical ways that you can assist your elderly parents:

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