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Valuing your deseased parent possessions.

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Valuing your deseased parent possessions.

Old 07-28-2012, 02:05 PM
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Default Valuing your deseased parent possessions.

I'm sure many of you have gone through this so I'm looking for some advice.

My father-in-law died 3 years ago and my mother-in-law moved out of the family home into a brand new 3 bedroom home that is 3X the size of the family home. That is a whole nuther story.

My wife and her sister along with the husbands like me are trying to get the old house cleaned up to be auctioned. My FIL actually grew up in the same house and bought it from his mother back in the early 40's.

My FIL kept almost everything and my MIL didn't want to take a lot of it to the new house. This morning we got into some really old stuff like complete volumns of National Geographic from the early 50's. We removed 2 large trunks from the attic just filled w/ neat stuff like my FIL navy peacoat, his bunk mattress, uniform, etc. We found a very old viewer that you would put slides into that looked like it was from WWI along with tons of old books, and stuff from Germany my MIL brought with her to America.

The girls are afraid they are going to leave something of big value because anything we don't take is going back into the house to be auctioned off. There isn't enough time to go through even a 1/4 of what is at the house. Do you guys have any advice on how to tell what is worth saving -vs- letting it stay with the house.

Russ
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:12 PM
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They have people that come in and buy everything from you and sell it out of your house, if it doesn't sell it's their loss, if they make money it's theirs. Placing a value on each and every item will take a long time and most likly will be worth more to you or loved one then an outsider. Unless his Navy coat is in extreamly good condition it's value isn't going to be much.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:17 PM
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Good luck. It's a whore's market -- estate buyers will more than not steal the steals and trash the trash.

Sucks.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:20 PM
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Actually -- I just had a total wacky brain-fart. Honestly, if it was a choice between leaving it all there and not knowing what you have -- I'd probably take a bunch of pictures of each room, and post them up on THT... you never know what fine folks here might spy in the pics of value.

No. I'm not kidding -- actually, it is exactly what I would do.

I've spoken with furniture appraisers, jewelers, dealers, everything on this forum... we're an assorted bunch don't 'cha know.

Just a thought.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:03 PM
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You can run an estate sale or an auction. I've done both. An auction is better if you know you have valuable things, an estate sale otherwise. Either one- hire a pro and let them do the work, such as advertising and the actual sale.

You could keep the items that look more valuable to you and try selling them on ebay. In general, you'll probably find it's more trouble than it's worth to sell run-of-the-mill items on your own.

Post photos of the German stuff- never know, some of it might actually be in demand. My uncle had several German items from WWII- all with very little market value. Most valuable stuff in his estate- tractors, cars, firearms.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:09 PM
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Don't get sentimental over stuff that you never even knew existed. You can get every volume of Nat Geo ever published on a couple of CD on ebay for a few bucks, and it's a whole lot easier to store.
I would be looking for stock certificates and currency, and having a tag sale company deal with everything else, after I had looked at it ONCE.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:27 PM
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I'd consider moving all of that stuff to one or two storage lockers. You could then take your time and value everything before you get rid of it. Remember the news article recently about the small cardboard box that was found in someone's grandfather's attic that it seems will end up being worth up to 3 million? It was full of baseball cards from the 1910's. It would be a shame to let something like that slip through your fingers because you are rushed for time.

Good luck.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:31 PM
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Actually, what you want is an appraisal. You will have to pay a fee but do not have someone come in who will appraise with the intent to buy. I had an appraisal done for a fee and then as a second option had someone else come in. The second guy was advertised as appraiser/buyer, said by the time he got done the house would be broom swept and I wouldn't owe him anything. Like he was doing me a favor. Called another auction house, they gave me an estimate, cleaned out the house, after auction ended up with an amount very close to appraisers estimate($7,500). An independent appraisal can also help with siblings, S/Bil's. This can be very useful in estate situations.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by aubv View Post
Actually, what you want is an appraisal. You will have pay a fee but do not have someone come in who will appraise with the intent to buy. I had an appraisal done for a fee and then as a second option had someone else come in. The second guy was advertised as appraiser/buyer, said by the time he got done the house would be broom swept and I wouldn't owe him anything. Like he was doing me a favor. Called another auction house, they gave me an estimate, cleaned out the house, after auction ended up with an amount very close to appraisers estimate. An independent appraisal can also help with siblings, S/Bil's.
WOW!

My God we shouldn't haveto do this - somtin wrong. But this I suspect is the best advice yet
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:35 AM
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When my mother sold her house to move into an apartment, the buyer told her to keep or give away whatever she wanted, and leave whatever she didn't - the house was going to be torn down and the dumpsters don't know one thing from another. Oh happy day!
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:13 AM
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BTW- make the first pass through all the stuff with trusted family only.

I've cleaned up 3 estate properties. We found money between pages of books, expensive jewelry hidden in stacks of china, cash tucked between floor joists and in garment pockets, property deeds tucked into underwear in drawers, etc. As people get older, some of them get creative about hiding their valuables and cash.

People who appraise estates or run estate sales know this and they will find (and some will keep) what you don't.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:00 AM
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My FIL passed away suddenly 5 years ago. The kids (my wife and her two brothers) split all of his personal possessions. They gave some to other family members. But he had three businesses to decide what to do with. Lots of assets, lots of property. We hired an estate appraiser for $1500 bucks. He gave us a report with actual values on it for 100% of everything he owned at the time of death. The report included auction prices as well as fair MSRP. This helped greatly in liquidating the estate as none of the children wanted the businesses. It also stopped the arguing about who got what and how much it all cost.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:01 AM
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When my grandmother was moving out we had to go thru stuff that hadn't seen daylight in over 40 years so I'm with glacierbaze in "don't get sentimental of stuff you never knew existed".

My mother has the same problem of being able to throw stuff away in fear of it being valuable someday. She now has 3 houses full of shit that us three kids will be asked to go thru. Fact is I'm not going thru it and I'm not wasting my time or effort to even think about it. My brother and sister can do so if they wish and anything of value they find is 100% theirs. If they choose not to do so then an estate company can deal with it.

Business assets and real estate are another issue all together. That's easy to apply a value to from many time honored traditions.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
BTW- make the first pass through all the stuff with trusted family only.

I've cleaned up 3 estate properties. We found money between pages of books, expensive jewelry hidden in stacks of china, cash tucked between floor joists and in garment pockets, property deeds tucked into underwear in drawers, etc. As people get older, some of them get creative about hiding their valuables and cash.

People who appraise estates or run estate sales know this and they will find (and some will keep) what you don't.
I found 25,000 dollars worth of diamonds in the hemlines of some curtains on a house I bought. Family thought the maid had stolen grandma's jewelry. I returned it to em
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:05 AM
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Some great suggestions, thanks. The stuff that I thought would be valuable really isn't worth much when I look it up on eBay. A lot of the stuff is books, but just because they are old doesn't mean they are rare. I found 1 book that is worth about $40 but the rest have been nothing.

Oldpete- great suggestion, I will likely do that with some of the more unusual things.

Glacier- "Don't get sentimental over stuff that you never even knew existed. " That's a great line, I have a feeling I will repeating that over and over and over.

JDiamond- That sounded like a good idea, but then I figured I would be paying more rental fees than the whole lot would be worth.


Russ
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:14 AM
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Pick every book up by the spine and shake it so the covers and pages wave back and forth. We did that and a few times $100 bills started falling out.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:14 AM
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Pick every book up by the spine and shake it so the covers and pages wave back and forth. We did that and a few times $100 bills started falling out.

Learned that trick from a real estate agent.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:20 PM
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This is the post I created a couple of weeks ago.

We have gotten through about 1/2 of the stuff and found several things of value but not like thousands. Books worth $30 bucks, or old fishing reel worth $25 bucks, full sets of National Geographics from 1956 worth about $30. Not expecting to find anything of great value and to be honest I'm tired to doing all of the work since no one else is doing it.

Not sure if it's worth all of the effort to sell the stuff for $300-$400 bucks. I think we will likely just keep the stuff and give it to our daughter. Maybe in her lifetime the stuff will be worth more.

Russ
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RussH View Post
This is the post I created a couple of weeks ago.

We have gotten through about 1/2 of the stuff and found several things of value but not like thousands. Books worth $30 bucks, or old fishing reel worth $25 bucks, full sets of National Geographics from 1956 worth about $30. Not expecting to find anything of great value and to be honest I'm tired to doing all of the work since no one else is doing it.

Not sure if it's worth all of the effort to sell the stuff for $300-$400 bucks. I think we will likely just keep the stuff and give it to our daughter.
Maybe in her lifetime the stuff will be worth more.

Russ
Pretty much what I expected. My brothers and sister got together the day after my Mom passed and wrote down on paper anything they felt was of some value to them. One year later (upon our agreement) we met again and none of the items were disputed and the division was finalized.

Beyond that, I allowed a small bedroom in my home to be used to store a bunch of dolls and books and ceramics, etc... to be stored for a year with the understanding that if anyone wanted to search eBay or just come by and grab something to give to grand kids or try to make some money at a flea marked, they could. NOTHING was removed from the bedroom a year later.
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