“Promise Me …”

(A powerful blog for those with parents who have not yet planned ahead)

An elderly mother says to her son, “Promise me you will never put me in a nursing home.  It’s so depressing.  Promise me you will never do that.”

The middle-aged son says:

Promise me that you will make plans now, so I won’t have to later under duress.

Promise me that we will discuss this now, instead of at a time when it is either too late, or I will have to make excruciating decisions in a crisis mode.

Promise me that you will give this much thought.

Promise me that you will love us both enough to do this now, so I know YOUR wishes and they can be fulfilled as closely as possible.  Research assisted living facilities.  Research home health organizations.  Have a plan in place we can both use.

Share your plan WITH me.

Promise me all of these things, so I can live the remainder of my life, knowing I honored you the best way that I could, knowing we had full and open communications, knowing we talked about the “what if’s.”

And lastly, promise me that you will never ask me again to promise you what you just asked of me.  For without any direction or guidance from you, I will be guessing, and guessing is not what you want me to do with your life hanging in the balance.  I don’t want to guess either, wondering if I’ve made the right decisions.

Guessing will only lay guilt at my feet and weigh heavily upon my shoulders.

If/when a crisis occurs, I will not be thinking straight.  I will not be myself.  I will not fully understand the ramifications of my decisions.  I will be stunned and emotional.  I will look and act like a zombie going through the motions.  I will be confused and overwhelmed by medical staff saying things I don’t understand, and family members questioning my every move.  Promise me you won’t do that to me.

By thinking about this now and deciding on what YOU want, we can put a plan together so there is no guessing.  Saying “I love you” isn’t enough sometimes.  Doing all of these things and preparing for that day ahead of time is a gift of pure love.

I will cherish and honor you for this gift, both now, as well as in my future.  Thank you for protecting my soul, mom, dad.  Thank you for loving me that much!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

 

Published in: on April 22, 2014 at 9:17 am  Comments (10)  
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Know When to Hold ‘em BEFORE You’ve Sold ‘em

It is not unusual to meet with families sorting through an estate on their own and making serious mistakes.  Through no fault of their own, they are following their logic.  Since they don’t have the benefit of knowing the correct process and sequence of things, knowing the industry, collectibles, antiques, and the overall market, they soon find themselves “guessing” and that is a very bad thing to do.

Families, executors, and attorneys hire estate professionals so we can guide the family in knowing what has value, what doesn’t, what is sellable, what is not, options for selling, resources for selling, what to throw away, and what to keep.  This is what we Estate Consultants do to maximize proceeds and offer peace of mind to our clients, knowing they are making the right decisions.

Let me tell you a story about what just happened.

I love sterling silver rings.  Besides wearing them, they are a good investment as a precious metal.  I had been watching a large lot of rings on eBay and won it at a very fair price.  When the rings arrived, I looked at them and found a huge surprise.  One ring stood out; I knew instantly it was Imperial jade, and one of the largest pieces of Imperial jade I had ever seen.  Even a small slab of this jade is very expensive and sought after.  The setting was platinum and not sterling.  It was, at the very least, a $1,500 ring thrown in with $5 sterling rings.

Someone did not do their homework or did not take the time to do enough homework.

I attempted to contact the seller on eBay, but they never replied.

Moral to the story:

Haste makes waste.  It is worth hiring an expert to avoid hasty, and costly, mistakes.  No one can possibly know everything.  Bringing in professional help is an inexpensive insurance policy that you are making the right decisions for the distribution and dissolution of a loved one’s personal property.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Ode to the Gardener – Important Life Lessons

Not so long ago, I stood by my father’s side witnessing the ever-advancing damage of dementia.  I knew deep inside that our time together was growing short from a cognitive perspective, but I never once took into consideration that he, himself, would be taken so quickly.  Dad was a Master Gardener who dedicated his life to understanding the soil, composting, plant diseases and cures, etc.

Dad volunteered 20,000 hours of his senior years teaching children in elementary, middle, and high schools how to nurture and grow vegetables, how to be more self-sufficient, how to be responsible, how to be part of something bigger than yourself.  He also went into prisons, as he wanted to give them a sense of hope and accomplishment.  Dad was sent a gold lapel pin award from President Bush, honoring his 20,000 hours of volunteering, and he was so proud of that pin.

When dad and I were in the garden together, he used to say there was no therapy better than sticking your hands in the earth and being a part of nurturing a plant to maturity, taking a back seat to mother nature, of course.  Little did I know, I would inherit his love for gardening and his green thumb as well.

There are many life lessons to be learned from gardening.  Below are several listed from Adam McCane’s site, which I really like; I just tweaked them a bit for purposes of this blog.

  1. What you water grows.  This simply means that we need to pay attention to ensure we are watered throughout life.  It is the most basic need we have, for without it, we would perish.  So will our plants that feed us, if we don’t take care of them or the earth.
  2. Weed regularly.  Weeds are deceptive.  You won’t notice them starting, but before you know it, they are choking out your veggies, stealing water and nutrients from your plants, and reproducing.  The rule in the garden is simple: If you see a weed, pick it!  The same is true for life.  Weeds and other “undesirables” have a way of creeping in on us.  We need to be mindful that we do not need any weeds in our lives, literally or figuratively.  Get rid of them and don’t feel bad about it.  All of us are tired of dealing with the weeds!
  3. Sharing the harvest.  It’s all about abundance, whether you are sharing veggies, flowers, time, care, love, etc.  Share what you have an abundance of and pay it forward.  It always finds its way back.
  4. Plant in the right season.  For everything, there is a time and purpose.  Sometimes, it is beyond our understanding.  I believe we reap what we sow.  Maybe it’s time to plant better, more productive things in our lives.  Feed your spirit by allowing only good things into your life now.  If you see things rotting, infested, etc., you will need to tend to them by getting rid of them, or proactively healing them.  TIme and nature will tell you which one it will be.
  5. Space is required for growth.  It’s hard to imagine how much room a vegetable is going to need when you grow it from seed or buy a seedling that is in a 5-inch pot.  Sometimes they grow so fast and thick, they can choke out other plants.  Giving a plant plenty of space is important for the health of the plant, so it receives plenty of sunshine and nutrients.  Providing this space will ensure our plants will be healthy, productive, and have plenty of breathable space.  We need to do this for ourselves and give that gift to others too.
  6. Pruning is necessary for abundance.  Cutting, pinching, or picking off dead leaves, branches, poor or weak fruit is necessary for the growth of the healthy fruit.  Vineyard pruners do this every day.  They know exactly how to cut the vine to promote healthy grapes.  While it may look harsh to see so much being removed, it gives the healthy portions of the plant more nutrients to produce the best fruit.  Sometimes, we need to look at ourselves the same way and learn how to prune ourselves by letting go of things that no longer serve our well-being and our highest good.

WP_002044 (2)Dad’s old garden hat is still hanging next to mine on a hook in my laundry room.  Every time I head out to the garden, Dad accompanies me in spirit.  I kept his watering can,  his old worn leather gloves, his t-shirts.  Those things were my father and how I remember him best.  I can still hear his voice guiding me in the stillness of my own vegetable patch.  Much of his advice to me through life also applies to the lessons of raising a successful garden, whatever “garden” we may be cultivating at any given time.

 

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Franklin Got the Mint – Susie Got the Shaft

Meeting with a mid-age female client this week was an eye-opening experience.  Her mother was still living and in a facility, and the daughter was in the midst of starting her life over again in her 50s.  The daughter was struggling because her mother was financially strapped; the daughter now supports the mother and the heavy costs of her ongoing care.  Facing unemployment herself, she is carrying a burden of monumental proportions.

I was called over to her home to see if there was anything of value that could be sold to keep up with the costs of mom’s care.  The daughter’s home was filled with Franklin Mint, Bradford Exchange, Hummel collectibles, Lenox collectibles, Fenton, and any other collectible you can think of that today has very little value.  Never mind, these plates cost $39.95 each or more, at the time mom bought them all for her daughter.  On Ebay, they sell for $3.99 if they sell at all these days.  All of the companies mass-produced these items and mom thought that her daughter could retire on them one day, because she was certain they would be extremely valuable.

Mom spent all of her money on these things that are not only undesirable on the market to most, but they have also cluttered up the daughter’s home.  You could see the anger and sadness on her face that “mom bought all of this #*&@# and now she’s broke.”

“Do you have any idea how much money she would have today if she didn’t buy this stuff?  Now I can barely make ends meet with her expenses and mine, and I am worried I will get laid off.”

I am not blaming the companies, but it’s worth saying that I see this frequently.  They were incredibly smart with their marketing and everyone in mom’s generation felt these collectibles could only go UP in value.  But let’s look at it from this perspective … If it’s such a great deal, why would they let tens of millions in on it?

Mom had the best of intentions but she just kept buying against her daughter’s will.  The daughter asked her to stop and she didn’t.  She bought all of it thinking her daughter could retire on these items one day.  Instead, her daughter is working very hard to keep her mother’s care afloat, and having to make grueling decisions on putting mom in a place that offers less care, less amenities, less enjoyment, less everything.  This too weighs heavily on the child.  The best of intentions went sour in this case.

Moral to the story:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Stick to what you know; stick to time-tested sources of wealth preservation, such as jewelry, gold, silver, etc.  Always use your gut instinct and stay away from the TV shopping channels.  If you want to leave a powerful legacy for your children, make a plan for your future and set an example for them to follow, when they get to that point in their lives.  The best gift a parent can ever give a child is a well-thought out plan for the final chapter in their lives.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Failure is Just “Redirection”

Working as a mentor for many in the estate industry, I am often confronted by questions that are not always easy to answer.  Just this week, a newcomer to the industry commented that she forgot an appointment and lost the job to a competitor, feeling she had failed at the task at hand.  Another called to tell me he is failing miserably at his current occupation and has no passion for it any longer.  Even my teenage daughter has struggled with English at school; anything having to do with words and putting them together makes her feel she has failed.

Failure is a terrible word.  It can crush the spirit and make us feel small.  It permanently mars our confidence level and will have great impact on how we view ourselves now and in the future.  I always go back to my theory on planting trees, and the same goes for raising children.  If you are going to plant a tree, plant it straight.  If you plant it crooked, so the tree grows.  I think we are not so very different from trees.

There is not one among us reading this now who has not felt the sting of failure or the tears that accompany that sting.  But here’s the thing we need to remember.

Failure is not a bad thing.  A “failed” relationship is a sign you need to go in a different direction.  “Failing” to get a job, because you accidentally forgot your appointment, may have been a blessing in disguise.  Failing at your current job just means you need to find something to do that you love and you will succeed at it.

Failure is a great teacher.  It teaches us what we do not want, and this is vital for personal growth.  I remember many years ago, I dated a man who was absolutely the wrong kind of guy for me.  It ended miserably.  He commented later on, when I ran into him, that I must be very disappointed or angry.  I simply replied, “Actually, I thank you.  You were a wonderful teacher.  You taught me what I didn’t want.”  He probably thought I was crazy, but I meant it.  Because he taught me such a valuable lesson, I knew from that moment what I did want, and I went and found it.

If you feel you are failing at something, you need to take some time to reflect, redirect, and move forward.  We need to go inside with our dark thoughts, face them head on, and turn them around to our benefit.  If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and remaining miserable, isn’t THAT the crazy part?  I think it is normal to be fearful of change, but if you don’t do it – if you don’t take that risk – you’ll never know what you could have been.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 10:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of YOUR Rainbow?

Most people reading this might be quick to respond with an emphatic “No.”  However, I beg to differ.  I suggest we give this a little thought before we jump to that conclusion.  Not all of us have the luck of the Irish, win the lottery, or find a treasure trove of buried gold coins, as in The Count of Monte Cristo.  But according to a client of mine who is 101 years young, we have much more than that.

Ask Herb if he is blessed and he will say with the vigor of a 20 year old,

“My goodness, yes I am!  Just look at me; I am vertical and that means it’s a good day.  I have air in my lungs and the sun on my face; I’m happy because I know where I’m going after this place.”

What an inspiration!

Ask him what “success” means after living 101 years and he’ll simply say,

“Success is faithfulness.  Faithfulness to your God, faithfulness to yourself and to your loved ones.  It’s being faithful to your business and anything else you touch.  In the end, money doesn’t matter much because you can’t take it with you.  Success is making the most of what you have and using it to help others.  Whether you have a lot or a little, you just live in such a way as to make a difference.  You never know whose life you are going to touch.”

There you have it.  I was officially given an attitude adjustment while sitting there with Herb, and now I’m passing it along to you.  It’s easy to get down or stuck, especially if you listen to the news and see what’s happening to the world around us.  How about listening to your heart for a change?  Try volunteering at a shelter and see how some really live, or help homeless animals, or kids who are troubled, etc.  Do something to make a difference, like Herb suggested.

Every day, I see people wrapped up in personal possessions: furniture, crystal, china, silver.  Every day I see people fight over these things that they can’t take with them either.  And sadly, every day I see people fight so viciously that they never speak to siblings again.

For what?  For nothing!

Because in the end, they live with regret, and regret is a thief.  A thief of your time, energy, thoughts, and your spirit.  It just isn’t worth it.

Herb is right.  In the end, none of this matters, except good deeds and the knowledge that you have lived each day in such a way that made a difference.  That is something I believe we take with us always.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

5 Minutes

In the span of a 24 hour day, what’s 5 minutes?  It’s grabbing a quick snack before you head out the door, feeding your cat, texting your best friend, or checking your email.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s certainly not much.  Our lives are so busy; we barely notice.  But often, they are full of things that are mundane and perhaps not all that important; they simply keep us busy.  That 5 minutes comes and goes without a care, never to be experienced again in quite the same way.

To some people, 5 minutes is an eternity:  a soldier who sees their life flash before their eyes, a lady waiting to find out if she’s pregnant, a young child waiting for Christmas morning, or holding a loved one’s hand while they’re dying.

If you were given 5 minutes to do, or re-do, anything you wanted to, any time, anywhere, or any place, what would you do and would you do anything differently?

If I had 5 minutes, just 5 measly minutes, for a chance to do anything I wanted, I would choose to visit with my mother again.  Throughout the course of our lives, she and I talked a lot about a lot.  I was the last person to talk with her before she passed suddenly, and our parting words to each other, without knowing she was going to die, were simply “I love you.”  But if I had that wish and just 5 minutes more, I would have told her exactly what she meant to me, how blessed I was to have known her and have her as my mother, and that I would do everything I could to live by her kind and caring example.  Everyone loved Anne.  She was one of the nicest people on the planet and my world lost its color the day she passed.

I would do all of this, if I had 5 minutes more with her … complete with a long and loving hug.  But I don’t have any minutes with her anymore.

What’s 5 minutes to you?

Is there someone in your life right now where 5 minutes (just 5 tiny minutes) could heal your life and theirs?  Take the 5 minutes I no longer have and do something really good with it.

It is a gift!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

To Honor in Death as Much as in Life

Call me old-fashioned.  Call me a twentieth century throw-back.  It is apparent to me each time I meet a client, pick up the latest gadget, or look in the mirror, that I came from a different time.  It’s more than okay because I really liked the twentieth century, and I’m proud to have grown up at that time.

Mom and dad are gone now.  Their absence is felt daily, evidenced by the huge hole in my heart and tears that well up in my eyes every time I think about how much they are missed.  I am certain you can relate.  I was one of the lucky ones who grew up under the strict, but loving guidance of two traditionalists.

They taught me right from wrong, disciplined me when I strayed off course, enforced curfews, taught me to prepare for what was ahead, and instilled that “this too shall pass.”  They were even “realists” when it came to death.  My own mother, with her fantastic sense of humor, sent me a coffin brochure, asking me if she would look better in the copper rose or the warm mahogany!  It is good to laugh when you feel like crying.  There’s just no way to fill a hole THAT big, so I fill it in other ways.

I want to live my life in such a way that it touches others, serves others, relieves others.  I want to make a difference.  Isn’t that what we all want?  All we need is a little tenacity and courage to do it.  Encouraging others to love and honor does not end with death.  If anything, it gets magnified.  Since they were proud of you (and vice versa) in life, shouldn’t that continue even after they’ve passed?  Imagine living your life in such a manner, that you not only make yourself proud, but your departed loved ones too.

So too, I guide my clients through the process of dealing with their parents’ estates.  Whatever decisions you make, make them in such a way that pleases you and would honor them too.  Turning the other cheek is far  from easy, but often necessary.

Corny?  20th century?  Something out of “Leave it to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best?”  You bet!

And I’m darn proud of that too!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Things We Find Left Behind

Treasure is in the eye of the beholder.  What one person holds dear, another wants nothing to do with.  This is true between elderly parents and their middle-aged children, and even grandchildren.  The Depression Era generation doesn’t let go of much.  They take great pride in their possessions, especially the ladies with their ornate silver plate pieces, painted china, and etched crystal that they cherished in another time and place.

We find a ton of handwritten notes intended for those left behind.  We find them tucked inside vases, taped to the back of china or paintings, taped under sculptures and figurines.  We find loose notes in desk drawers.  Sometimes, we even find the notes laying right where the author left them before being struck with infirmity or death.

These notes are meant to guide the loved ones after their death and they often include a myriad of information: the history behind the item, the name of the person they are leaving it to, and my personal favorite … what they think it is worth.  Many of these notes have yellowed with age and some are barely decipherable.  To complicate the matter, this particular generation has a tendency to change their minds frequently, often creating multiple notes with mixed messages (probably depending on who ticked them off most recently – according to the children who read the notes).  It is also possible they may forget and start all over.

Here is an example of one I just found:

Dated 1977

“In my antique chest, with the items I intend to give to Susan and Ralph.  Top shelf – “Boy and two goats” Royal Copenhagen figurine and female Hummel. – $2,000 value

Second shelf – Royal Doulton Toby mugs and Hummel plates – $1,800 value

Third shelf – Carlsbad, Austria dish and crystal duck and cat – $300 value

To Robert and Sylvia – In the hutch – the smaller Hummel figurines, Venetian glass fish, crystal candle holder and small Royal Doulton figurine. – $1,500 value”

The list is quite extensive and goes on for a long time.  Here’s what we need to know from this story:

  1. These items were never distributed.
  2. They were never distributed because no one wanted them.
  3. They ended up in my hands to sell for the family and they will split the proceeds.

Do notes help?  I think sometimes they do, especially when they offer personal history and IF you want to keep these items.  Notes can also be removed or taken by unscrupulous heirs-to-be, and often we find more than one version of their notes, which claim different people can have the same item.

How do you handle that one?  You write a formal addendum or document to place with your Will or Trust, and make sure there is only one copy, not multiples.  Ask your attorney how to do this.  Better yet, consider giving it away or selling these items, if the children don’t want them, before any of this takes place.

From my experience, many times the intentions of these notes are never carried out.

You can have the best intentions but if they are not carried through, it’s a moot point.

If you want someone to have somethings special of yours, give it to them while you are still able to do so.

Somewhere along the line, we have to break the habit of waiting until someone is “gone” to deal with all of this.  Granted some people prefer it that way, but more and more, we are seeing a trend of people giving away or selling their items before they pass, to make it easier on their loved ones left behind.

Personally, I think the best notes we can leave behind are thoughts of joy and love, and not necessarily who gets what and how much items are worth.  My favorite “possession” from my late mother is a letter she sent me stating how proud she is of me and how I have chosen to serve people, and may God bless me abundantly for doing so.  It is a deeply personal note and one that I will always cherish.  I would gladly let go of the material stuff I inherited from her, for this one note and memories of happy times.  That’s the REAL inheritance!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

“Buster”

If you are squeamish about critters, cleaning out an estate is just not recommended.  Just as we inhabit a home, our little friends (furry and 8-leggers) inhabit right along with us.  We just don’t think about it, because we don’t see them.  An occasional spider and other insects are normal, and believe it or not, little field mice are near in proximity too, unless you have a cat.  I’ve even had a client who lived symbiotically with a huge black snake she named “Frank,” because Frank took care of all the little mice in and around the house.  The client went so far as to explain that “Frank” was a far better companion to her former husband because Frank never was in a bad mood, complained, or hogged the remote!

Handling as many estates as I do, we have become accustomed to dealing with our little friends.  We find them too often and, most of the time, they want nothing to do with us and just go away.  We prefer it this way!  But I have to tell you about my experience with a mouse.

My assistant, who has been with me over a decade, was opening boxes in the attic of a 1930s estate.  Together we were up there sorting through what could be saved or sold, and bagging up what was clearly garbage.  When boxes have been up there as long as these had been, everything becomes brittle and starts to disintegrate in your hands.  She held up an old Xerox box with the lid open to show me there were old mason jars inside and nothing else.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw pink fluffy stuff (which turned out to be insulation material), shredded pieces of newspaper, and small bits of fabric formed in what looked like a bowl.  Just as I started to tell her that it looked like a mouse nest, and to be careful, the biggest mouse I ever saw climbed up, balanced itself on the rim of the box, and attempted to stare me down!  She was very big around the middle, and clearly we had disturbed her soon-to-be birthing place.

In a split second, with neither myself or my assistant freaking out, the mouse leaped from the edge of the box, with the grace of Greg Louganis dismounting a diving board.  I had never seen such speed and agility.

It all happened so fast there was no time to shriek or freak.  The mouse flew through the air like the man on a flying trapeze, landed with a small thud on my bust, and had the audacity to use my chest as a trampoline for her final dismount.  As soon as she hit the ground, she was gone.  Not even a bow did she take.  Just a dirty look and who could blame her?

As with all strange things we find in estates, we had to give her a name.  There could be no better name than “Buster.”  To this day, we affectionately recall Buster and Frank, and the variety of other critters that cross our paths, making each new estate experience far from boring.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on February 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm  Comments (2)  
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