Important Tips When Dealing with Personal Property from an Estate

When a loved one becomes infirm or passes away, the handling of the estate and contents lands on the lap of the heir(s).  If the heir is prepared, it will go much easier than if they operate in a crisis mode.  All too often, I see children who don’t know anything about the estate and contents.  It’s like they are literally walking into a dark house and starting from scratch with no guidance.

Here are some important tips to consider if you are currently dealing with an estate, or soon to be handling one.

1.  Don’t do ANYTHING until you know what it is and what it’s worth.  Do not give items to neighbors, friends, family, or charity until everything has been looked at by a professional appraiser, or you have been advised what the best method(s) is/are to proceed with dissolution of the estate.  It is well worth the cost to get this information.  It will even assist with equitable distribution, thereby keeping things as neutral as possible between the siblings.

2.  What is it worth?  What someone is willing to pay you for it.  It is not worth the dollar amount you see on the internet – that is only an asking price and usually quite inflated at that.  It is not worth what grandma told you back in the 70’s, and the stories that were told by previous generations can be a bit stretched through the years.   As with anything else in life, the value is contingent upon many factors, one of which is supply and demand. 

Since so many china sets have saturated the market, and will continue to do so, what do you think will happen to the price?  If the younger women want Pottery Barn and IKEA, and not grandma’s china, what will happen to these sets?  The prices will continue to plummet.  Always check with a professional appraiser first.

That’s enough to digest this week, but I have three more important tips for you next week!

© 2010 Julie Hall

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