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I'm the one who lived closest by mom and dad. I helped mom tremendously with dad, and then helped her for another 15 years. Mom died and now, I am STILL taking care of her....estate! Thankfully, because of the close relationship we had, and because she trusted me, I was able to have her complete her Will, Trust and sign over the bigger elements of her property to her Trust and 5 kids. So there is actually not too much wrangling about who gets what. The biggest amount of time right now is in cleaning out her home and getting it ready for sale---even though she didn't accumulate what I thought was a lot of stuff, there is still, a LOT of STUFF to go through. I am spending several hours at a time over there, several times per week, and one weekend day every week with my spouse going thru it all. Because of identify theft we cannot just throw paperwork in the trash---we have to sort it into the bulk threshing boxes or the recycling boxes (actually we're tending to just thresh it all).
I hope all of you out there have gotten your wills DONE and your instructions are very CLEAR as to how you want your Estate to be handled. Even things like specifying if you DO want to donate all your clothing to charity, would be SO helpful (versus feeling like all clothing has to be inventoried and offered to 3 sisters who might just want certain items....very time-consuming!).
For simplicity, my parents only left things to the 5 kids, and nothing to the step-grandkids or even their own grandkids, this has been a godsend since I don't have SO many people to deal with. I know many grandparents might want to "remember" their grandkids---but, please, consider the extra work it will make for your Executor, and just let the grandkids receive something thru their parent.
The other thing I am learning as I go thru the early stages of all this is, there is no rush to get things done; and yet I am hearing weekly from one or the other of my siblings, when will I get some money.....it would be been AWESOME if my mom had actually written instructions into her Will, that NO MONEY would be given out for the first 6 months, and that the Exectuor had no need to "report" on the Estate for the first 6 months. Mom has not even been in the ground for (let me count it....) 7 weeks and the sibligns are already getting royally Antsy!
I will post more updates as time goes on.

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Ok thanks for clarification. I too have 2 twisted sister and 2 twisted brothers. Tb1 tb2 ts1 and ts2. So I guess they can call me ts3. R3d3 look out.....
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Mallory I have two twisted sisters that have caused so much stress in this situation. Ts1 is a counselor ts2 has mom's POA's. Karma has just begun.
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OregonGirl, the insurance company will get the settlement b/c it paid for the remedial work. Assuming the $42K has already been paid, it was paid by the insurance company, which probably subrogated against the Dust Buster manufacturer. Subrogation is standard to recover the costs expended by the insurance company.

I'm assuming you didn't have any out of pocket payments for the fire remedial work?

Most people don't read their insurance policies though.

I'm curious and concerned though how the fire started. Was the dust buster defective? Was it a battery in the dust buster that caused the fire?
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who is ts2....
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Oregon, I had a fire a year ago, repairs almost complete. I too, am fighting insurance company about paying remaining repairs. Because my house is more than 100 years old I purchased a rider that provides for repairs to areas of the house not damaged by fire if required to be brought up to code. My contractor was told by building department that the electric on removed walls had to be brought up to code, they also talked about plumbing so contractor did that work as well. Now insurance does not want to pay it since contractor cannot document plumbing requirement. Point being why would I purchase that rider if I did not have a say on what needs to be done. The rider does not say who makes the determination of need, only that if it doesn't meet code and need upgrading to comply. Pain in the back side! Good luck with that Oregon!

And on the trustee job, ts2 gets it. It is set up so if she is too busy with her life she can pass it on to successor. She is very busy yet does not want to relinquish the power. So, she struggles to get the house on the market, it has been more than three months since mom was moved, ts2 works in the school system so had summer off. She just cannot seem to get anything done. Now school back in session, who knows how long this is going to take. So, my sympathy to you Oregon, I know it is alot, you will get through it. No sympathy for ts2 though, Karma... I provided four years of 24/7 care, now it is coming back on her.
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oh wow, Oregongirl, that is an awful predicament, it sounds like you should file some type of complaint with your state insurance commissioner? or some type of Breach of Contract lawsuit against your insurer? I know, they try to wiggle out of every claim they can... for my mom's house, once she was looking like she's not coming home, I started preparing to get her house for sale (she couldn't afford assisted living without all the assets locked up in home). And that needed workers coming in....and I could just imagine someone falling off a ladder and suing! So I upped the homeowner's liability to 2 million, it only cost about $25 a month, small price to pay for a few months, I figure.
But your fire situation, that is really strange, I cannot imagine how they could wiggle out of paying your claim. Just doesn't sound right!
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Well just found out something NEW today. Hang on. I own the home, but I wanted to change the INSURANCE to my name. Well, not so lucky. We had a fire started by a DUST BUSTER....WE HAVE PAID PREMIUMS FOR 20 YEARS. NO CLAIMS. It cost 42,000 to repair our home. Oh and by the way, the Insurance company sued dust busters and we get no part of the settlement. Went to start policy in my name and they will no longer insure the home. GET THIS. 20 years we paid and the fire not our fault...INSURANCE COMPANY SUED DUST BUSTER but we will get none of the settlement. What we get is NO INSURANCE and have to change companies. What a game these insurance companies have. So, my rates go up and I have no other choice but to pay it. I think the insurance companies pray that we have a fire. I am going to ask my attorney to write to the insurance company and demand I get some of the settlement from dust busters. I cannot prove it was started by dust buster, but the fire chief wrote it up that way. When am I done with all the problems that I face as the TRUSTEE. The family sits back and waits for their gold and I do the work. Interesting that I found out yesterday that the family gets NADA and it all goes to me. Little but at least I get something for the work I have done. My sweetheart knew that I would face problems and made sure that I would be ok. EXCEPT for the STRESS of being Trustee. I would not wish this job on anyone. It is not what you think people. BE CAREFUL taking this job on. Oh Malloryg8r, I am sorting the photos as I would want them if it were my parents or siblings. YES it is a lot of work. I think anyone being asked to be a TRUSTEE should insist on being paid for doing it Before I have money coming from the accounts, I am writing my own checks to cover things. BE CAREFUL to protect yourself as Trustee. It is not the DREAM that our families think it is. If they had to do it, they would realize that it is not a good job, Maybe they would realize the work you are doing and accept that if you get more than they do, it is because of the work you did. You MUST love the person you are being a Trustee for. I mean it. I would go no further if I did not love him with all my heart. I am SO angry at the Insurance company. Thank GOD, I paid for our insurance for a year in advance. But, they still say they can cancel me. I doubt that.
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Oh I know this will take at least a year, it has just been 3 months and I don't even have the house ready for sale, I'm still going thru boxes and boxes and drawers crammed with stuff. And I always thought mom was really good about not keeping too much "stuff." Family photos are everywhere. ..most of them I believe they came to her in letters or cards, And I figure I can toss most of them, it would be ridiculous amt of time for me to try and sort them into 15 piles and return them to their (assumed ) original sender.....
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Sadly, even with a trust in place and an executor picked, I have never seen an estate settled without some "feelings". As I stated above, we got lucky when my FIL died, the kids were all pretty decent about things. It was the BIL who got in the way. (His wife, the only daughter, took anything and everything of any value before we even had a chance to inventory.) This is NOT my family, so although I thought that fairly greedy--I didn't care. Not my place. I agree that estate sales are a real ripoff if you are not auctioning true antiques and treasures. It just makes for a heck of a lot of work for the executor. Keep all receipts!!!!! Somebody will want any accounting (the BIL!) and even tho, as executor you are entitled to a certain amt. of "hourly pay" when you work on the settling the estate--my hubby took not one cent. My son (an atty) was livid about that--(and maybe that's why he's not OUR executor)....every family has a different dynamic. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the house sold, the taxes were done for the final time and we could box up the remaining paperwork and take a breath. Took over a year. I think that's normal.
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Don't spend any questionable money until you KNOW you have the right to do so. Of course if you are the Trustee, you have to keep the home going, (Insurance, Utilities, monthly bills etc), but do not consider the money YOURS until you know that it legally is. You could bring on to yourself a heck of a lot of troubles. You do not want to go there.
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Oh you have NO idea when it comes to the TRUST. Keep Receipts. If you make deposits of early checks coming in, make notes. You have to fulfill the wishes of the deceased. I have not stopped since he passed. I have boxes everywhere due to the break in of the Storage and I am dealing with that also. Set up a special account for the funds coming in and out. Bills you pay etc. I said earlier NOT to use an auction person if you can avoid it. Everyone I have talked to who did, said they wished they had not agreed to it. They got pennies on the dollar. They knew they could have gotten more. AND, I wonder how many things THEY buy thru someone else and re-sell the item. READ the fine print.
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....on the advice of a friend, who had a "divorce" sale, I met with another estate sale company, Caring Transitions, which is a national franchise. The rep was very kind, and took a look at the limited collection of nice items, and then proceeded to tell me they do auctions--and everything starts at (wait for it....).one dollar! This seems rather shocking to me, a nice walnut end table being put up to auction at only $1? Does that seem crazy to anyone else?
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By the way, I am having the same experience others have mentioned about the Estate Auction/ Sale companies. What it boils down to is, they have a set-up fee (covers a.complete written household inventory, research certain items for market price), a daily fee for number of personnel & food/beverages for personnel while doing inventory, set-up, and at the sale (!!!! When was the last time any of my clients provided food for me!!!!) Plus they take 35 percent. So in a nutshell if there is not at least $15,000 worth of sales, don't bother.
I am thinking of hiring my neighbor to do a simple garage sale...and that will take place of too - expensive Estate Sale.
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I guess I am trying to do so so very much, in such a short time, to try to minimize the number of months of having to pay about $1,000 in household costs. Mom still had a mortgage on her home (thanks to the previous POA, she went to her grave with a GD mortgage!!!!! that alone causes me so much distress I should have stopped that about 15 yrs ago). I've been "in contact" spiritually with my mom at every step of the house cleaning process. I had all the walls painted (turquoise is not exactly neutral ), plus safety issues like the over 1" crack in front sidewalk, which was very spendy to fix because mom & dad had a special textured concrete. ....in had choice of replacing the entire sidewalk, in plain concrete, or just 3 sections in the texture (went for the texture at slightly higher cost, it looks fabulous and should help home sell, we are Northern climate...ice happens Oct thru April).
But I fear I am working too hard and fast, I felt like a heart attack and had to go to ER, thank God I was OK but they told me to slow down some and take care of myself!
I considered relinquishing the Executor duties (I have kept such good records it should be easy by now. ...) but in "conversations " with my mom I gain strength to carry on.
I am finding so much comfort in remembering, I did everything I could do for mom, and for dad too, and even for their parents too. Maybe that is why mom chose me to be Executor and why she continues to be in contact with me, watching over me, and helping me through all my "panic attack " moments.
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I am 92. I have al ready given anything of value to my children. Some things such as furniture etc. were given when I left the house. My eldest daughter is Executor of my Will and I hope the six of them will work together to clear what stuff I have left. So I trust it will not be too difficult for anyone. My sympathy to those who have written of their problems.
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If you, as executor, are on the checking account, all monies obtained through sales should be deposited into that account and distributed from that account. Luckily, my FIL had let my husband set this up just for this situation. Hubby simply deposited all checks, divided the "gains" by 3 and wrote checks out to all 3 sibs, including himself. When I remodeled the house, I kept METICULOUS records of every cent I spent on supplies and such. (Only my BIL cared enough to look them over) then I was reimbursed by the estate. I am really glad this particular group of sibs all were ok with what went on. Sadly, I see this dynamic of one sib or another wanting "in" on everything when they did nothing or next to nothing to care for or help. Money makes it all so much worse. In a way, I am glad mother has nothing. When she goes, we'll clean out her apt and that's that. No money to inherit, just junk. Brother already has her car, which he richly deserved, as she has lived with him for years.
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doodlebug, you are so right. I got a phone call from the one son the day after his dad died asking for a copy of the Trust and Will. I will tell my attorney that I am giving him his telephone number and I will not pay for the phone call council. GREAT idea! I know I will get angry phone calls, and I am not looking forward to it. Why don't they understand that I am carrying out their father's wishes. I am learning what to do with my kids. Our State does not allow recording of Trust. I wanted to record it, and the County said they do not do that anymore.
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Remember, if you are distributing inheritances, to make sure they are responsible for the taxes on the amount they get. I just deposited a check yesterday into my account. If I divide that check eventually and distribute, I will have my account figure out what the taxes are and most likely keep that tax money until tax time and either pay it for the person getting the money or document somehow that they are responsible to see that the taxes are paid. I don't really know how this works, but I refuse to pay any taxes from MY money to cover their tax obligation. My accountant will help me with this.
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Another suggestion: My partner stated in the TRUST that I have one year to settle and pass out whatever is to be passed out. It is looking like his step daughter and step son will get very little. So, they will probably cause me problems for my ONE YEAR. They are more eager to get what they have coming than to attend the Memorial. What a shame. What happens to people when money is their main goal. He was a wonderful man and they should be cherishing the way he lived and his accountability to life. Careful with the Estate Sales people.. I have not heard any positive statements in this area. Most people said they got pennies on the dollar. Keep a record of all expenditures, income from accounts, expenses for preparing the home for sale, inventory everything. Have fun. But, have records to fall back on if the family decides to contest the Trust. I have been told, contesting a Trust is usually not successful. They will spend the money and get nothing. I have my own attorney. He is going over the Trust and Pour over Will with me next week.
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Yes I am also going through the clean out! He saved every receipt. I am shredding like crazy. Be careful what you throw out. I found a coin collection he had that I did not know about. Some of the coins are from 1939. I found old German bills from WWI and II. These were in an envelope. Why didn't he tell me? I could have shredded this stuff by accident. I am giving away boxes and boxes of things to the Mission and church. Our problem started when we had a fire. The Insurance company packed everything up and stored it. The storage unit got broken into and my checks stolen and on and on. So be prepared to work on just about all areas of the person's life. Take your time. Also, while dividing things up like pictures into different boxes for different family members. This all brings back the memories and missing him each day that he has been gone.
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This hits too close to home--my FIL died and hubby and his sis and brother were too stunned to do anything. I finally had to step in and kind of "boss" them around. And altho I was the DIL, I ended up doing all the cleaning (dad was a real hoarder, 10,000 golf balls, among other things) and a total remodel of his condo to be sold. I did it all w/o pay, altho I know I was entitled to $20 an hour for my time. All the "good stuff" went to the SIL. (The car, the furniture, the appliances) That's OK, everything else was split up 3 ways, and there were no bad feelings. It just took me forever to go through piles and piles of papers. Then separating stuff. Then shredding stuff. Then endless cleaning....and not one word of thanks from any of the 3, one of whom was my own hubby! Luckily, the empty rental house sold the day it listed and the condo sold BEFORE it was listed. It was a mess, and I will NOT leave my kids in this situation. We are just glad that my FIL went to an attorney and at least made a few attempts at a will, Having my hubby be the Executor made it SO much easier. No probate--just the seemingly endless task of cleaning and sorting. And trying to figure out how to get the hot tub out of the garage. Yes, the garage. The ONLY thing he specifically left to us was a huge hot tub he'd had installed in his garage. I ended up giving it away to ANYONE who could get it out of there.
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My admittedly non-professional opinion on the matter of appraisal is that it would only be necessary if the estate is subject to the estate tax. If the only return to be filed is the final income tax return, the value of the stuff is irrelevant. That said, the only real value stuff has is what it sells for. And—as the lawyer we had when disposing of my sister's stuff said—"if you are all in agreement, who is there to object?"
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After my Dad suffered a stroke, he told me and my sister to take what we wanted, as he would not return home. My sister stated, she didn't want anything! Now 20 yrs. later, she accuses me of taking stuff, even to the point of not included me on Dad's deed to the house. A real mess, since sis now has dementia and can't remember. A hurtful, long lasting hurt!! My advice, give stuff away when you can remember what you are doing. Let kids come and pick out what they want. Drawing names/numbers if 2 family want same item.
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I'll limit my suggestions to the main topic of this question which seems to be the disposition of stuff and some strategies that have worked in my family. First, my parents had designated certain items, thought to have intrinsic or aesthetic value, to various of the siblings, so this was understood. For the rest, I gave each one a pad of Post-its to mark what they wanted. Everyone had an opportunity to come and haul off whatever they wanted. Then—after finding out how little I could get by putting ads in the newspaper— I put out signs for an estate sale. The leftovers went to the local "benevolent society." Toward the end of this ordeal, during which I ended up practically giving stuff away, I learned about estate liquidators. They charge 30% or more, but they take care of everything. When my sister died unexpectedly in California and we needed to get the stuff out of her $2500 per month apartment and art studio as soon as possible, the liquidator sorted through the stuff, selected some for auction, some for a consignment shop, some for charity, and took the art supplies to the hazardous waste dump.
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Dear Malloryg8r,
I also had lots to handle after my Dad died. Mom died 5 years ago, and I'm still discovering loose ends from her death that neither Dad nor I took care of at the time. (I'm an only child and live across the country from where my parents did). I agree there is no manual for this. We are all writing it as we live it! You may not feel it at the moment, but, believe me, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Though I still have a few loose ends 9 months after Dad, things have mostly calmed down. It's weird: I feel grief, loss and yet relief and a sense of a new kind of freedom that is comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Be strong, and take moments when you can, to go for a walk, watch a funny video or do something that makes you glad to be alive.
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Yes it's definitely getting "less funny" since I just got an email from a brother who want me to sell his stuff that he was supposed to come pick up, instead he wants me to sell it at the estate sale and give him the proceeds, and of course he has already in his infinite knowledge told me exactly what the minimum asking price should be. Ha! He is just trying to avoid making the trip, and has no idea about the 35% commission. Plus it is one more thing for me to keep track of. Why do the siblings think they can tell me, the Executor, how to do my job? Honestly. Yes, this is just getting less fun.
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Mallory I had a"reputable " auction house deal with my parents property.. Big house full of antiques, and antique shop on site.. and yes we got screwed! SO I agree, just pack it up and give to goodwill. It is less bother and no hard feelings at the end, and you are helping someone else out. I had sold a bed for $200 that they took. (no we can;t find it now, so sorry) and they claim they got $5. for it. My mother was heartbroken about what they got, and I could do Nothing. The fun never ends... it just gets less funny...
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This week I got nice expensive estimate for fixing the cracked sidewalk, it is only a few thousand.....I did have 3 different estate sale companies take a peek at what they could do, and my suspicions were spot on! NONE of them were interested in doing a sale and one said, she could do a one-day sale, at 35% commission plus an advance fee of $4,000. She said the cost of the sale is more than the expected proceeds, and gave me the name of an outfit that will come with a big truck and clean out everything for only $1500. So, I am going to just tell the sibs, exactly what these people all said...and look into donating everything. Maybe I will hire someone else (not the $1500 place) to carry it all out to Goodwill. But I have to check with our insurance company to make sure they would cover any injuries. The way to live I'd venture to say, is with less an less stuff each passing year--but make sure the stuff you keep is the good stuff!
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Mallory, your mom sees. And one day the siblings will too, karma, I am a firm believer, my sibs are getting it back in spades! They had absolutely no idea, they sure do now. And it is my pleasure to just bow out.

I even left town for the weekend cause the twisted sisters and auntie dearest are getting together to divide up the remaining things at the house. Wanted no where close to that circus, not my monkeys. Auntie is going to get what she can for me. But, I told her it is only stuff, doesn't matter one way or the other when all is said and done. And my mom is still alive, just moved to a facility. Wonder if that will make for more family friction later. Oh, probably, then there will be only cash left and some things that may not be usable again. When my grandma passed my aunt took care of her business. My grandma was a spitter, constantly and mom is going that way. Grandma's walker was disgusting, I would have just tossed it. But, auntie wanted it cleaned to either donate or sell? Don'tknow. But me that thing could not have made it to the trash bin soon enough!
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I am not having a good day today, I got 2 more medical bills, one for $467.29 which was never billed to Medicare and supplemental wouldn't pay on it either, with the cryptic "code" saying to the effect, "Pharmacist dispensed drugs which can be self-administered " but the date of service was when my mom was more or less unconscious under hospice nurse's care. It doesn't even say the name of the drug. Maybe it was Tylenol sublingual drops!! So frustrating!! I have a 10-ring circus going on, between medical bills, siblings hinting that I am dragging my feet (!!!) picking out paint color for seven rooms that totally need it (pale grey is in....), getting sidewalk vicious crack estimates, lawyer bill $1640 for initial consultation, mailing out certified Death Certificates via certified mail to credit card companies and utilities, hand-writing Thank-You notes for memorial gifts, answering phone calls from overseas relatives who just learned of the death, crying on the job when hearing the phone ring and my impulse was "I better get to it quick--it might be mom" and realizing, no, she is gone, to a Better More Beautiful Place. I know my mom loved all 5 of her kids. She was such a special lady. I hope she appreciates and sees. I hope some day my siblings get to see a rendition of what I am going thru. I am such a wusse (how do you spell that?) and I am complaining way too much. It's just that there is no darn Instruction Manual for handling all of this!!! And when I have a simple enough question, it costs me $425 to raise my hand and get an honest answer.
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