Guidelines for liquidating estate, sibling "demands", ugh!

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I am executor of my parent's will and have financial POA. Mom has AD. Dad is 83 with various issues, but mentally OK. Dad told me this means I will be selling their house, settling the estate, paying bills if/when they are unable. They first asked my older sister to do this, but she didn't want it. (Not a surprise as she never helps much and usually only argues and creates needless drama.) They didn't want an attorney to do this, so they asked me. I assured them I would see to it that their wishes were carried out. They specified a number of valuables that clearly will go to me and others that will go to my sister. However, the majority of their belongings such as furniture, art work on the walls, china, crystal, jewelry are not specified. It will be up to me to sell what I can and divide the money between the two of us. The gray area is that my sister has young adult children who could likely use some of the furniture. Perhaps some of them might even want a few personal items. I know sister will feel entitled to take whatever is there without thinking twice. How do you handle this? Do you advise your sibling that what remains in the house is now part of the "estate" that must be settled and that she cannot just take whatever strikes her fancy? She also would not think she needs to pay me any reasonable value for whatever she may want from the house. If I tell her any of this, it's likely she will think I'm being too hardlined, and things will escalate it into an argument. My relationship with my sister has been distant for years and I assume when our parents are gone I won't see her much if at all. There's not much of her relationship I care to preserve, I just want to do the right thing. Thanks.

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Get Dad to add a codicle to the will. Have him ask ur sister what she and you would like from the home. Then once you settle that see if there is anything the children would like. You can at time of parents passing call in an estate buyer. Executor, in NJ, can take 6% off the value of the estate for doing all the work required. The balance gets divided between beneficiaries. Of course, before you can do this, all debts have to be paid.
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An auction company may work out for you. Remember that selling items on your own, via Craigslist, FB marketplace, yard sales, etc., is lots of time and work. Whether the estate goes thru probate and is supervised or unsupervised will help to determine whether a dollar value needs to be placed on everything. I set everything that was left out like a garage sale, and then had my siblings take whatever they wanted, as long as no two people wanted the same item(s). Then we listed everything that each one took, and I had everyone sign off that they were satisfied with the distribution of the household goods. But that was mementos and usable items that wouldn't bring much anyway.
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GingerMay, I'd suggest to your father that he might like to invite his grandchildren to pick out 1 - ONE - item each. Not jewellery, either - art, furniture, ornament.

Make a little ceremony of it, even, if he'd like that. They don't all have to be there at the same time, although they can be. You can send out a group email and it'll be first come first served, something like that.

For the rest of the "chattels" - here's the thing. When a surveyor or the equivalent comes round to assess the value of contents with a view to estate and probate declarations, the price tag on particular items can be bafflingly low (or so we found, anyway). Now I don't know whether this applies near you, but apparently they are guided by likely auction valuations; and pretty dam' sobering it is to find out what quality is worth in the Age of IKEA.

The jewellery will be a bit different, but it should still be lower than the insurance valuation. You'd better get advice on that.

Then, once you have a valuation for all the house contents, quite honestly if the kids could use a dining table or a tallboy, is anyone going to mind? But your sister will just have to understand that whether it's accurate to the last pin or not you need to have that firm, agreed valuation before anyone removes anything without your parents making an intentional gift of it.
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Don’t worry about setting an executor fee - a probate judge will award one based on the total value of the estate.

If you don’t want to take payment for being the executor- I didn’t as it would have pissed my brother off and I was trying to keep things civil - you will likely have to submit this request in writing to the judge. In most states this executor payment is routinely awarded.
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Can you ask your dad how he would like to handle this? Maybe put it all in writing as well as your fee as executor then take dad to a notary and have it notarized, then you can say, here is what dad wanted.
If not I would get appraisal done at the expense of the estate and anything they take comes right off the top of her inheritance, you will need to make sure they have no free access to the house and property, this may mean having a new set of locks or a locksmith that can come change all of the locks to fit one key that you have and only you. I am so sorry that you even have to go there, greed and entitlement are sickening to me, especially when the people involved don't even pretend to love or care about anything but the money.

God bless you and may this be a problem that you don't have to face for many years to come.
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