Seniors, their children, stuff, and grief

In my work of helping seniors appraise the worth of their personal property, or liquidating it, I have seen examples of unsavory human behavior during the process.  This comes from family, friends, neighbors, or strangers. 

In dealing with a lifetime accumulation of stuff, seniors are often at a vulnerable place in their lives and daunted by the task.  That’s when predators appear, driven by insensitive greed and persuasive powers.  These unscrupulous mischief makers could be stopped in their tracks if only the senior had the knowledge of how much their personal property was worth.   They should also proactively create a master list of what they perceive to be treasures – either sentimental or financial.

When seniors have avoided making these choices by doing nothing for their estate planning and distribution, they are actually making a decision with dire consequences.  I always recommend that seniors distribute their treasures personally now, or in writing for distribution at death.  When the gift is personally made, however, they have the satisfaction of seeing the joy on the face of the recipient!

If a personal transaction is not done, then the next best thing is to write down who gets what on a master list.  This master list should be kept safely with the will.  Both documents will almost always minimize family disputes and exploitation.

Problems generate when the children or close relatives are burdened with dealing with the death of the senior, the pressure of dealing with the estate, and the overwhelming task of disposing of the personal property.  Seniors who recognize their own responsibility in this matter and make the decisions themselves are practicing the best defense against family quarrels or exploitation in any guise!

© 2009 Julie Hall

5 thoughts on “Seniors, their children, stuff, and grief

  1. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! This is my life’s work: Educating and advocating for seniors and their boomer children during times of difficulty, especially when they need to transition into Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s facilities or pass away. There’s alot to know about handling an estate and all the “things” our loved ones amass during their lifetimes and doing it the correct way, the ethical way. Check out my book, The Boomer Burden, highly rated on Amazon and available in all major booksellers. I think you’ll enjoy it. Please share with your friends that there really is a good lady out here trying to make a difference! You made my day!



  2. I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  3. Thanks to all of you who have commented so positively! It is a wonderful feeling knowing your message is a good one! Keep posted for some fascinating blog entries and information! With all of my experience in the estate industry and working so closely with the best and worst in human nature, I have learned so much from the many scenarios and from my beloved clients. My book, The Boomer Burden, is highly rated and full of such stories and advice. Every boomer is going to go through this one day, so please pass it along and send others to this link or my site. Thanks again for your uplifting messages.

    Julie Hall, The Estate Lady

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