Dad and Mom always treated me and my brother equally. I am one year older. We are co-POAs, and it is stipulated we must agree on everything. Unfortunately, we don't agree on practically anything! Politics is a screaming match. We have totally opposite views. (although that doesn't have much to do with Mom.) She will be 95 in July. She still lives in the house where we grew up. She is a hoarder of things...not garbage, very organized, lots of stuff in marked boxes, etc. When the time comes, I want to have an Estate Sale professionally handled, then sell the house. He wants to try to sell off the collections of stuff, then put a couple hundred thousand into the renovation of the house, then try to sell afterward. I don't think we would get much out of the time and money invested, and the area has had several buyers in the area come in and just raze the houses and rebuild their own house creations on the land. I hate to consider this, but I have an awful feeling I may end up with an attorney..... Anyone's thoughts???

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As someone who does clean outs and online sales for the last 25 years, I can tell you that the stuff is not worth anything near what you think it maybe. The younger generation is simply not interested in old furniture or in large collections of dishes or other knickknacks. There is literally no market for a lot of this kind of stuff. I would go through the boxes of things that are personal like letters or pictures and remove those that you want and turn the rest over to someone to do it professionally. Get it done in the quickest and most efficient way you can so that you can move on with selling the house which is also going to be a problem. If your brother insists on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars I would ask him to buy you out first and then he can do whatever he wants. Most likely his expectations are way outside of reality in this situation could drag on for years and cause a great deal of difficulty between you as well as legal fees.
Helpful Answer (13)

I favor an estate sale by a wide margin. All "stuff" is just "stuff." That souvenier from the trip to Paris in 1967 is "stuff" to most folks...The fact that Uncle Louie carved the statue of a horse is merely incidental to most folks. "Stuff" does not bring much at a sale.

I don't envy you and brother being co-POAs.

Grace + Peace,

Helpful Answer (11)

I would ask your mom if you and your brother can open and go through things together with her now, while she's here to tell you what they are and the associated stories. Mark and sort things along the way. I've heard good stories about how this prevents tussles between the siblings that would happen after the parent has passed. Separate items that will stay in the family (going to one or the other of you), very expensive pieces and put a slip/sticker on them so you remember, and nice but no especial worth. Tell mom this would be fun for you guys, and prevent you making mistakes with items later.
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Well, I'd vote for the professional estate organizer. I hope that is what my kids do with all of my junk, er, valuable possessions, when I am gone (or before that if it is needed). A professional will know that this fun glass bowl is worth $.25 at a garage sale, but this one that isn't as pretty is a collectible and shouldn't go for less than $10, and that some antique dealer would snap this other thing up at $120 and still have room for profit. I wouldn't even know that about my own possessions. Interest in collectibles waxes and wanes. Learning all this stuff piece-by-piece would be hugely time-consuming. Work with a firm that has a good reputation and save lots of headaches.

But ... if this happens while you and brother are still POAs, then one of you has to convince the other, and a decision must be made. If it happens after Mom dies, then you are no longer POAs.
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When my dad passed, I interviewed a couple of businesses that do estate sales and decided the 50% commission plus expenses was too high. Instead I hired an efficient young guy who was experienced in Ebay sales to help me price things (important to know values) and run the cash box for 20% of all sales. My husband roamed around as security the day of the sale, but there are people who specialize in stealing at private sales. One woman took the price off a painting THREE times to try to say it was a $10 item. Another asked the price of a keepsake that was in a box. Later I found the box empty. Lots of new in the boxes things were found empty at the end of the sale. Some buyers expect to come back a second day for the traditional 50% off, but I was so exhausted and upset I cancelled to sale. We had most things (except furniture) priced at $2 or $10 and buyers haggled.
In the end, I sent a 26' truck load of furnishings that were left off to an auction where I netted $300. Nobody wanted "brown" furniture. My parents had beautiful colonial style furniture and that style has gone to barn wood primitives.
If I were to do it again I would still manage the sale myself because in the process I discovered important pieces that were of interest to the family and even historians. My father's WWII medical manual, for example would have gone out to the dump.

On the sibling issue, my sister and I started out disagreeing and now we speak mostly through lawyers. Things can go south very quickly.
Good luck.
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I'll comment on the estate sale. I completely think it's a great idea. We had one for my parents' house because they were moving in with us and maintaining another residence was going to largely fall on my sister and I. We did the best we could to segregate the things they wanted to keep in the master bedroom (which was a task in an of itself) and let the estate sale people organize and stage the rest of the house. In the end, it is just stuff. It is a tremendous amount of work to itemize and tag all the items and then monitor a sale (theives show up all the time). Leave it to the professionals. In the end, they can clear out (donate, etc) anything that doesn't sell. Worth every penny (ours was a net zero, which was still a win in my book). I would encourage you to do it before your mom passes. Once a loved one passes, there are more emotional involved and that will make a difficult task that much worse. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (8)

There are two very different possible scenarios, depending on whether your mother is alive or not when the possessions and home are sold. If you and your brother are planning (as joint POAs) the sale to pay for her assisted living care in a facility, that's going to present different challenges than dispersing the estate (as Executors) after her death.
My sibling and I were harmonious POAs when our remaining parent developed dementia and a terminal heart condition. We found an assisted living facility that met our high standards and were prepared to sell his possessions and home to help pay for it. We identified different "collections" (mid-century modern furniture, WWII memorabilia; you get the idea) and located dealers in the area who specialized in those things. We decided to sell the house more or less "as-is". The plan was to do this within the first few months of his stay in the ALF.
Dad died four days after moving to the ALF. That changed the scenario, because I became the executor of the estate. My sibling and I agreed it should be dispersed as quickly as possible - a house that no one is living in is a financial black hole.
We each took the items that had personal meaning to us, and sold the rest at auction, and to the aforementioned dealers. I did some cosmetic work to the house, and found a great Realtor in the area who sold it rapidly for a fair price - this saving the estate thousands in property taxes and upkeep. The entire physical estate was settled within four months - like ripping off a bandaid: done with minimal pain.
Here's what I learned: the contents of your parents' home are not worth much (unless there's a Faberge egg or a Monet in a closet somewhere). If you select an auction house, they will come pick up the stuff, take it away, and you will receive a check - you do not have to agonize over the individual value of each item. The house itself is nothing but a drain on resources; it should be sold ASAP.
The takeaway is: Let It Go.
I'm sorry your brother is not in accord with you... you seem to be a very practical person, and he is a dreamer if he thinks spending the next few years of his life eBaying is going to make your family significantly more money. I really wish you well going forward, good luck, and blessings.
Helpful Answer (8)

"When the time comes"? What exactly does that mean?

What level of care does mom need right now? Does she have the funds to pay for it?

Unless you are generationally wealthy, your mom will end up on Medicaid and the house will be spoken for (either because you sold it to pay for her care or because you had to move her because she needed a higher level of care) and the house in lined by Medicaid.

You will both be shocked, I'm sure, to find that mom's collectors not bring big bucks.
Helpful Answer (6)

Co-POA's is never a good idea. Water under the bridge.

Does your brother think that these collections that your mom has hoarded are going to fetch the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to renovate the house?

Is your mom sitting on valuable collections? Or is it just assumed that what your mom has is valuable? Has anything been appraised?

You can hire an appraiser now or you can wait until your mom passes away but if you hire an appraiser you can get a better idea of what kind of value you're looking at. I have this mental image of you in the front yard having a yard sale and your brother in the house on his computer trying to sell the exact same items on ebay.

Don't start thinking "lawyer" yet. Once lawyers get involved everyone but the lawyers walk away with nothing.

I am curious to know where your brother will be getting the $200,000 to renovate mom's home.
Helpful Answer (6)

Oh no! Great advice from all here. Because I had 3 siblings to divide among equally, we hired a local auctioneer to move everything out and sell it. First, we had him estimate the value of any items the 4 of us wanted; and we each paid the estate for what we chose that way. He also estimated what the house would bring at auction. We let Realtors convince us they could sell it for more; but after several months of having it listed, we ended up selling it for the auctioneer's estimate. And, we had problems with the Realtors showing the place, and had the ongoing expenses of the house during that time.
I can't imagine what you could spend $200,000 on to fix up a house and even recoup that, much less make a profit. I
I suggest that you each get a real estate professional of your choosing to give you a CMA--Comparative Market Analysis. They will do this for free. Ask them whether any fixing-up or improvements would be profitable or make the place more saleable.
Then, if Bro still wants to do that and you don't, tell him you'll sell your half to him for its current value and give him the opportunity to make twice the profit. Win/win! If he whines that he doesn't have the $, he should be able to get a mortgage to do it, since he would only need to borrow half the current value plus the $100,000 he is asking you to put up for the improvements.
My personal choice would be turn it all into money and run. If he wants to hang around in sentimentality, fine--give him his choice. No animosity, both in agreement.
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