Lessons Learned as an Expert in “Things”

Happy New Year!

As an expert in personal property, my days are filled with visiting estates, consulting with my clients, and ascertaining what has value versus what does not.  I help boomer children make sound decisions after mom and dad have passed on, and work closely with seniors, helping them make a plan for their heirlooms and understanding their worth.  My world revolves around many beautiful things and what they may be worth; then sadly, I watch people fight over those things after a loved one dies.

Having met with thousands of individuals in my career, I can safely say I have learned from each and every one of them.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

1We exit this world the way we enter it, owning nothing but a beautiful spirit that houses love and memories earned over a lifetime.  You can’t take anything with you, so why fight over things.

2Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness.  So we keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  Too many of us fill our lives with things to ease unresolved pain and issues.  As we continue to go out and go into debt buying ourselves the latest electronic or gadget, we are still left unfulfilled and discontented.  We buy to feel good.  We buy because we deserve it.  We buy because we are depressed.  But in the long run, it ends up in the hands of family or a professional, such as myself, to sell it.

3It‘s what you do with what you have that really counts, not what you possess.  In these challenging economic times, it’s important to remember there are others dealing with greater difficulties than ourselves.  Even while we tighten our purse strings, we can still give in many ways, for which others would be so grateful.

  • Give of yourself.
  • Go visit someone you’ve been meaning to see for a long time.
  • Write that letter.
  • Bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing help.
  • Visit shut-ins.
  • Surprise a loved one.
  • Make that phone call to make amends, because you and your mom haven’t spoken in years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home and watch the residents light up.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right away.
  • Ask for forgiveness and offer it, no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need them.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

4.  If you have an older adult in your life … Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history – fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages – and look through old photos.  Record this day and make a book for them (and copies for each sibling) so it may be passed down for years to come.  Many children regret not having more family history, but they realize this after a loved one has left us.  Take a photograph of this special day and frame it.

5.  Get your children involved in their own legacy.  TALK, don’t text.  Include older generations in activities with the younger children, if possible.  It won’t do them any harm to listen to grandma’s stories and bake cookies, instead of them playing on their Xbox.  Precious time is slipping away for all of us.  Make the most of it by making meals and eating together, talking, sharing, and most of all, mending anything that needs mending.

©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

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