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  • Eight Ways You Can Help Your Elderly Parents BEFORE Crisis

    Here are eight ways that you can be proactive and take action now to help de-clutter your parents’ home. Do this now for their sake—and for your own. I can tell you from personal experience: you do not want to have to do this in “crisis mode.”

  • Letting Go of Your Possessions Is Harder Than You Think

    In the last post, I included a list of some reasons why people have a hard time letting go of their stuff. I want to continue the conversation with a couple of important suggestions from my experience as both an appraiser of residential contents and an estate liquidator.

  • ’Til Death Do Us Part

    Most of us enjoy hearing those words during a wedding ceremony as the new couple floats in bliss, envisioning themselves by each other’s side until death. From my perspective, however, I see people who have a very passionate relationship with their material possessions—sometimes more so than with each other! If I didn’t know any better, I would say they feel confident that they can take their possessions with them when they leave this earth.

  • King Solomon’s Approach: Will It Work for Dividing Estate Contents?

    King Solomon was known for his wisdom and ability to make sound decisions. The most famous incident happened when two women came to him with a baby each woman claimed as her own. Solomon’s response was literally to divide the baby so that each woman could have half. This decision did not seem to bother the first woman, but the second woman begged the King to give the baby to the first woman, so the baby could live. Solomon then knew the second woman was the real mother and granted her the child.

  • The Solution to the Irony of Heirlooms

    We spend a lifetime collecting and caring for heirlooms, yet we rarely take the time to make a plan for them once we pass away. We allow our children to fight over them, instead of making wish lists and talking with them about their wishes.

  • The Irony of Heirlooms

    You can count on Murphy’s Law when dealing with heirlooms and dividing estate contents—something almost always goes wrong! I’ve had a front seat for nearly 20 years and seen more than my share of serious feuds, estrangements, the “entitlement mentality,” and the rapid gathering of vultures and other green-eyed creatures. Sibling rivalries, as well as tensions and emotions, are at an all-time high. The executor is generally stuck in the middle, reluctant to ruffle any feathers.

  • A Spontaneous Invitation Changed My Outlook on Life

    It was a spontaneous invitation from my mother to attend their senior holiday dance and party. I was visiting from out of state and obliged her request, but I wondered how much fun it would really be with everyone so advanced in years.

  • What to Notice About Your Parents’ Aging

    Many of us will gather with close family at Christmas and/or New Year’s. You may want to observe your parents, or other close relatives, and note any new signs of the aging process.

    Some of these signs, if occurring infrequently, are no cause for panic; however, they could mean that your parents need to have someone check on them daily or consider assisted living.

  • Leaving a Legacy of Love

    Anne and Bill are a wonderful example of parents who prepare for the inevitable. Both are in their mid-70s, and in relatively good health, but their two children and several grandchildren live far away. They knew that when something happens to them, their children would have to journey to get there and assist. Wanting to make life easier for their kids, they decided to make sure their wishes were known.

  • Treasure Hunting at Home

    It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! In my line of work, I spend my days deciphering what has value in estates, what is to be sent to donation, and what has no value. Not long ago, I was asked to go through a home to evaluate its contents. Many of the items were not in the best shape because of mold and mildew. Many items were from the turn of the 20th century or before, and many of these had value.

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