We’re continuing our discussion of important tips for dealing with personal property in an estate. Here are the final three tips:
3. Just because it is old doesn’t mean it is valuable. This is my personal mantra. Each day, I must face clients and report the truth based on facts. Depression glass may have been the rage 12 years ago, but today the market is pretty flat, much like the beloved Hummel figurines of mother’s day. It’s important to understand the distinction between monetary and sentimental value. If great-grandfather made it in 1865, it is certainly old and very special to us. This, however, does not indicate or equate to significant monetary value. It does hold value in the heart, though.
4. PLEASE hire a professional before you have a yard sale on your own. In my career, I have seen things thrown in the trash, dumpsters, yard sales, etc. that children put there or sold for next to nothing. In actuality, they were worth a small fortune! Knowledge really is power. Parents, consider getting your heirlooms evaluated prior to your passing, so you can leave this information for your heirs. Children, ask questions about the history of these heirlooms while mom and dad can still tell you. Discuss together the possibility of gifting prior to death. At the very least, mom and dad should document who gets what.
5. When using professionals in the industry, check them out first. Make sure they have no unresolved complaints against them with the Better Business Bureau. Ask them for professional references, and ask how long they have been doing this work. Ask your friends, neighbors, and other professionals if they can recommend estate professional appraisers and liquidators. Be very leary of those who “dabble” in estate sales or yard sales; you need a pro. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, you should try hiring an amateur.
© 2010 Julie Hall