Can you imagine dealing with a loved one’s passing, dividing the estate, renting a truck to bring heirlooms home, and on the way back … the truck gets stolen?
This is a true story that happened last week. Apparently, the children packed up everything they wanted to keep and headed home with a truck full, including $100,000 worth of jewelry in the cab of the truck, $7,000 worth of furniture, and $4,000 worth of power tools in the trailer of the truck. The children started in Ohio and were heading home to Florida, when they decided to stop and rest for the night at a Microtel Inn. By the time they woke and were ready to hit the road at 9:00 am, they discovered everything was gone, including the truck.
Sadly, there was no outside surveillance at this Microtel, but most economy hotels do not have outdoor surveillance. The children seemed to be befuddled that the truck was stolen because it was “parked under a light in the parking lot” and they locked the truck. Lights and locks don’t stop thieves. The thief broke in and hot-wired the truck.
Call me crazy, but it seems to me they could have been followed from where they started. Someone probably knew what they were carrying and decided to help themselves when no one was looking. Besides the obvious pain of feeling violated and cheated by some thug out there, one has to wonder what they were thinking when they left $100,000 worth of jewelry in a small suitcase inside the truck. It begs the question, “Why not take the jewelry into the hotel room with you for the night?” That’s what I would have done.
Would-have, could-have, should-have will not be of any help in this case. The damage is done! The police will most likely not find the jewelry, as it’s my guess it was flipped for quick cash or it sits in someone’s safe for a while until the coast is clear. They will find the truck, abandoned somewhere and completely gutted of its contents.
Estate Lady tips when transferring or traveling with valuables:
1. Jewelry/cash needs to be carried on your person at all times (fanny pack, backpack, pinned inside garments, shoulder bag worn across your chest, etc.) until you arrive home and get it to a safe place.
2. Furniture and other items, such as power tools, that add up in value should be moved professionally if the family can afford it. Moving companies have insurance and if it were stolen/damaged under their care, they would have at least been given some replacement money. Professional movers usually have checks and balances in place to ensure theft doesn’t happen. Make sure to use a larger, well-known, professional mover.
3. For smaller valuables such as figurines, small paintings, jewelry, etc: Whenever we move, I take on the liability myself, pack the car with them and get to my destination in one day. If I can’t do that, then they need to be professionally packed and moved, making sure you take out additional insurance and have the items appraised, just in case. Or, I will sell items that no longer mean much to me and that lightens my load.
I realize people want to do it themselves because it is more economical to do so. But as you can see, this cheaper option was overwhelmingly more costly.
I remember packing up my car from mom and dad’s estate and making the 10 hour road trip back home alone. I never left the car, except to run in to use a restroom and stretch my legs. Mom’s jewelry was on my person, hidden. So even if my car had been stolen, because it looked like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies, at least the more valuable and sentimental jewelry items were safe with me.
Such a tragic story that didn’t have to happen!
©2013 The Estate Lady®