Thursday, August 07, 2008

How to Handle a Parent's Belongings

Since my father passed away two years ago and my mother entered a nursing home, we've been procrastinating in making their belongings more manageable. Emotionally, we just couldn't get started on selling or giving away my parent's accumulations from a lifetime. However, we've come to realize that keeping a household without residents is not a good idea. Besides the monthly upkeep cost, there is maintenance and occasional damage due no one being there when an issue happens.

Recently, Liz Pulliam Weston wrote How to get rid of your folks' stuff on The article covered a range of topics, including family relationships, vetting what to keep and what to give away or sell, and looking valuables in hiding places.

Fortunately, since there are only two children, we don't have many issues in for family relationships. However, there are several other suggestions I found useful. Specifically, in the first round, we plan to do the following:
  • Review documents and shred those not needed. My dad kept all his financial documents, sometimes in duplicate, such as tax returns. However, they were organized in his own unique system. We'll need to go through all the documents and keep what's needed (titles, annual statement summary and tax returns)

  • Create keep, sell and giveaway rooms. We will start sorting items into one of these rooms for future disposition.

  • Check for valuables in various places. My mom and dad kept their valuables in different locations in the home. We'll need to inspect the home and all the items before transferring ownership.
  • This will be a good start. However, I expect it will take a few trips and a couple weeks of work to complete the task. Hopefully, if the real estate market improves, we'll be able to sell their house in the spring of 2009.

    For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or family advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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