Don’t Let Your Dentist Operate On Your Knee

Our house is starting to need some work.  There is exterior trim that needs to be painted, the siding needs power washing, and the gutters need to be cleaned out.  I would love to have some new landscaping in the front island and three light fixtures I would like replaced because they are old; the house needs an overall facelift.

Then there’s me.  I could use a little sprucing up too.  My lower back feels like it was thrown in a wood chipper and spit out, probably from all my years of estate work.  I have arthritis in my neck and hands, and a little bone in my foot that is protruding slightly (arthritis from pointy high-heeled shoes I just had to have way back when).  My hair needs the gray roots covered over and a few more highlights added, but I haven’t had the time yet.

I’m not complaining.  I’m making a point.

For each of these endeavors mentioned, I will call in a professional who knows exactly how to do them, because I do not.  I will not attempt these tasks because somewhere along the line, I will botch the work and then it will cost more money and time to fix it.  I know my limitations.  Life has shown me my strengths, and it has also shown me when I should walk away and let a pro do it.

There are many who are do-it-yourself people, and for the most part, I admire people who can get so much done on their own.  But I have also seen those who should have quit while they were ahead, for their work was not good.  I go to a back specialist for my back, a foot specialist for my foot, a dentist for anything to do with my teeth, and a hairdresser I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!  I would not attempt to fix any of these on my own, for they are not in my repertoire of skills.

You wouldn’t go to a dentist for a knee replacement, would you?

The same is true for handling an estate.  Families think they can navigate some pretty treacherous waters on their own.  In my experience, many of them have capsized the boat along the way and hurt others in the process.  All because they think they can do it or want to save the money that would have been spent on a professional.

“An estate professional knows these troubled waters and knows every aspect of handling the twists and turns.  We know the market; we can predict human nature.  We can maximize proceeds and preserve the good for you.  Even with our commission, we bring in more money than a non-professional.  We know the right contacts (local and national), resources and options, plus we guide you through the process.  It’s like having an estate expert in your pocket.  An excellent estate sale pro is worth their weight in solid gold.”  — Julie Hall

Then there are those who know and understand the worth of hiring professionals.  They want to pay to get the job done right the first time, so they don’t have it drag on, only to have to deal with it a year or so in the future.  They simply want it done, and done correctly the first time.

There is an old saying, “Penny wise and pound foolish.”  This applies to much of what I see when families deal with loved ones’ estates.  They don’t want to pay a professional, but the mistakes they make are so costly: throwing away valuables, making hasty decisions, giving away things quickly, assuming mom just had junk, etc.  They could have hired 4 professionals by the time they are done!

TIP FOR THE WEEK:  There are some things you just shouldn’t attempt.  Research and find the best estate professional; the right person is very worth the effort to find!  Moving forward through a challenging estate situation is paramount to your continued well-being.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at

6 thoughts on “Don’t Let Your Dentist Operate On Your Knee

  1. I totally agree. My problem is that when the time comes, how will I find a good estate professional? Who eva.uates estate professionals? Is there a “consumers reports” that rates these professionals? Most of us would be grabbing at straws. It won’t be long before I need to walk down that road and I have no idea how to begin.

    1. You start by going to to see if we have one in your area. If ASEL doesn’t, we will provide tips and suggestions on how to find one. The client will have to do research on each company they interview and keep an ear out for praise instead of repeated complaints or issues. It is always best to start ahead of time, before you actually need one. Check the BBB in your state, and ask people and colleagues you know. If a name is continually repeated to you, chances are they are very good.
      — Julie

      1. Thank you. The place I will need a professional is hundreds of miles — about a 10 hour drive from my home. I can only begin seeing people in person when the time is closer but I can begin paper research much sooner. I will start looking online. Thanks again for the suggestions.

  2. Love your stuff Julie. I have a question: What do YOU say to people when they think their stuff is worth a bazillion dollars and you know it isn’t? This is the hardest thing for me to deal with. Any suggestions? Thanks—Jaye at Alley Kats

    1. You simply tell them the truth as you know it and politely educate your client as to why things are lower $ now than they used to be. For example, I normally tell people, “There was a time these when this would sell for $500.00 several years ago when the economy was healthy, but today our market is a buyer’s market and it may bring in only $200.00. The economy is not the only culprit: 1) We are losing our mothers and grandmothers now and their traditional furnishings are flooding the market. If you couple that with the younger women not really wanting the antiques, china, etc., from their estates, you have too much supply and not enough demand. Throw in a sad economy and the market has spoken. It leaves me scratching my head too. It doesn’t mean these items won’t sell. It simply means they are not bringing in nearly what they used to unless they are extraordinary, and the definition of that would be something like a flawless diamond (they exist but are very hard to find, thus genuinely “rare”).” Try that!
      — Julie

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