Just in Time for Christmas

You know how passionate I am about helping people deal with their stuff or a family member’s estate.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you have seen me talk about tips, options, and solutions based on decades of experience.

I decided to take my best knowledge and pack it all into a new book, “What am I Going to Do With All My STUFF?”  This book gives you step-by-step direction and best practices for the downsizing process.


When you have no idea where to begin, I give you the resources and brain of an expert,  including the pros and cons of each possible option, for making solid decisions when it is time to simplify or downsize your personal property.

Based on 25 years of my experience and insider know-how, this book will give you all the following:

  • Where do you begin?
  • Understand value and the characteristics of value
  • How to thin out the house one room at a time
  • Determine your options for selling: Pros and Cons
  • Handle large collections and items of value
  • Determine what to keep, sell, donate and discard
  • Overcome potential obstacles and factors that hinder the process
  • Find professional help you can trust
  • Avoid the mistakes people make
  • Make peace with letting go

It’s available online at Amazon.com in e-book and paperback formats.  Here’s a quick link to the e-book: E-book purchase

Here’s what one reviewer says about the book:

Overall, if you are facing the task of cleaning out a deceased loved one’s home or are simply trying to downsize the clutter you have in your home, this is definitely the book for you. Ms. Hall is very clear and concise with her suggestions and methods, and in the end, you will feel accomplished and at peace with a job well done.

Here are another reviewer’s observations:

Though Hall notes that the target audience of this book are baby boomers, I feel that adults of all ages will benefit. She gives you a plan on how and where to start the process of shedding material possessions.

I am writing this review on Black Friday as the media keeps telling us to buy more “stuff”. Instead I’ll remember Julie Hall’s advice, “Give to those who are really in need. That item that you ‘might need one day’ is needed every day by someone else.”

Actually What Am I Going To Do With All My STUFF? will  make the prefect gift for the holidays. I think my husband, mom, kids (who are in their 20’s), and many friends will benefit from this book.

I am passionate about educating people, so I’m proud to present this project to you, my readers.  Best regards as you let go and simplify your stuff.  Here’s to a 2016 with less clutter and more calm!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

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

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


Quoted on MSN Money by Liz Weston

MSN Money’s personal finance expert, Liz Weston, wrote about “How to Avoid Fights Over Mom’s Stuff.”  http://money.msn.com/family-money/how-to-avoid-fights-over-moms-stuff-weston.aspx

Thanks, Liz, for asking me to contribute to a topic that is at the heart of what I do.  This is why I wrote the book, “The Boomer Burden – Dealing With Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff” and “How to Divide Your Family’s Estate and Heirlooms Peacefully and Sensibly”. 

I want to educate people to avoid the harsh and painful reality of fighting and hurt that comes when families have to divide a parent’s possessions.  Thank you, Liz, for bringing attention to this topic with such clarity and insight. 

Welcome to those new visitors who are linking to my blog from Liz’s article.  There are over 100 weekly posts here full of valuable insights about all areas of personal property.  Check out the categories on the right, and sign up to receive my weekly blog.  While you are there, you can click directly to Amazon.com and order my books in either print or ebook versions.

Revised Edition is Here!

Revised Edition

A year ago, I wrote a companion guide for my best-selling book, The Boomer Burden.  It was titled “A Boomer’s Guide for to Cleaning Out Your Parent’s Estate in 30 Days or Less.”  Last fall, I began to review the material and realized that I could make a good book … EVEN BETTER.

Be the first to read and benefit from … How To Clean Out Your Parents’ Estate in 30 Days or Less.  The original contents are almost entirely unchanged, but I have added more information, more advice, and more assistance to my readers.

In the revised edition, I have added more content on the actual cleaning out process.  How do you prepare for those tiring days of cleaning out?  What must be done first?  How do you handle all the photos and papers that you will uncover in the home? 

Like any inportant project that you undertake, you need to have two very important things ready: SUPPLIES and STRATEGY.  We discuss both.

Together, we do the Cleaning Out of the house one room at a time, beginning with the attic, and ending with the last box packed and the last bag dragged to the dumpster.  I give you everything you need to know to clean each area of the home, just as if I was with you on this project.

If you expect to deal with your parents’ home soon, or you know someone who is anticipating this difficult challenge, please read my book!  Cleaning Out your parents’s home can be done in 30 days or less with the right plan and preparation, and I want to help you accomplish this.

Simply click on the book title at the right under “Books By Julie” to link directly with Amazon. com and order yourself a copy.  Better yet, get a copy for each of your siblings.  It’s best to be prepared before the crisis hits, when grief and stress overcome the family.

© 2011 Julie Hall

Sneak Peek: Two heirs want the same heirloom

Here’s the sneak peek from my new book, How to Divide Your Family’s Estate and Heirlooms Peacefully and Sensibly, available at the right side bar of this blog.

Problem: Two of my siblings are fighting over the same heirloom.  How do you split that?

Solution: When two or more are arguing over the same item(s), you have a few options, but ultimately it is up to the level of stubbornness of the people involved.

  • One heir simply turns the other cheek and forfeits to the other.  Rememeber that all of the values need to be kept equitable.  If Sue gets a $5,000 item and Barbara gets a $200 item, that is not equitable and other arrangements must be made, whether in cash assets or other items, to make up for the $4,800 deficit.
  • One sibling can offer to buy the item from the others and take it out of their inheritance.
  • They can write up an agreement and share the item, if it is small enough to share.  Then again, this decision only postpones that inevitable decision for later in life.  When the siblings die, now their children have to contend with the same issue.
  • If no one can agree and the arguing continues in a “no one is going to give in” pattern, I recommend the executor sell the item through an appropriate auction and split the proceeds by the number of siblings.  Yes, the siblings will be upset, but that is more acceptable than resenting each other the remainder of their lives.
  • What would mom or dad want?  Would they permit this kind of treatment towards one another?  In most cases, the answer is no.  They would be disappointed, having trusted you to make decisions that they probably should have made while they were alive, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.  You can’t go back; you can only go forward.  So go forward, knowing what your parents would have wanted and go forth doing what they would have wanted.

© 2011 Julie Hall

Announcing my newest book!

How to Divide Your Family’s Estate and Heirlooms Peacefully & Sensibly is the only book that walks you through the relational minefield that happens when children/heirs have to divide the personal belongings of their parents.

This is a must-have resource packed with practical expertise and a fair, equitable process for dividing personal property within a family estate.  From how to minimize fighting and manage the emotional roller coaster that comes with a loved one’s loss, to understanding legal responsibilities and suggestions for executors, this guide offers solutions based on decades of experience in working with families and estates coast to coast.

This guide is a must-read for every family challenged with dividing an estate and not wanting the family to divide in the process.  This guide includes practical problems and solutions, such as:

  • When more than one heir wants the same thing 
  • What to do when the heirs are a long distance from the estate
  • When some of the personal property is missing and not available to divide equally
  • When extended family gets in the way
  • When you find a treasure and no one else knows you found it
  • When neighbors or friends expect to get something from the estate

Those of you who have read my first and second books, or read this blog for very long, know that I want to educate you.  That’s my goal!  There is a lack of information out there that frankly handles the problems and challenges of dividing the estate contents equitably and without fighting.  I want to create helpful and very practical guides that cut through to the essentials, and give you all the tools to educate yourself and then do the task effectively.

My new book is available now on Amazon.com.  Here’s the link and it’s also available on the right side bar of my blog: http://www.amazon.com/Divide-Familys-Heirlooms-Peacefully-Sensibly/dp/0984419128/ Watch my blog for a sneak peek of the book next week!

© 2011 Julie Hall

My Christmas gift to you

Again this year, I’ve helped people understand the necessity of preparation before death, and helped them avoid battles over stuff after death.  I have accumulated a wealth of understanding after nearly 20 years of experience handling personal property in estates.

My book, The Boomer Burden — Dealing With Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff, provides practical and effective steps for liquidating and distributing your parents’ assets in a way that both honors them and promotes family harmony.

You’ve probably heard the stories:  arguments over stuff, an inheritance lost forever when parents are scammed, siblings estranged, or an adult heir taken from daily responsibilities for months while trying to empty their childhood home. 

This book is valuable for both senior adults and Boomer children.  My trustworthy counsel covers the following areas:

  • Divide your parents’ estate with peace of mind
  • Minimize fighting with siblings during the estate settlement process
  • Clear out the family home in two weeks or less
  • Identify potential items of value in the home
  • Have “that conversation” with your parents
  • Prepare your own children for the future

Amazon.com carrys my book; you can purchase it in time for your family’s holiday celebrations.  If you have a close relationship with parents and siblings, you owe it to all to keep harmony in the home after the unexpected death of a parent.  If there are difficult relationships, distance between you and your parents, an accumulation of stuff in your parents’ home, and other thorny issues, please buy a copy of this book and save yourself even more pain and struggle.

One of the most distressing, yet integral parts of estate planning and liquidation is the division of personal property; who gets what?  A vital conversation now can go a long way to prevent squabbling between the heirs after mom and dad pass away.  For peaceful resolutions and wonderful guidance, please order The Boomer Burden.  It has earned wonderful reviews, and it makes a great gift for siblings, parents, children, even clients.

This is my Christmas gift to your family: a wealth of information and valuable resources to protect the relationship, sanity, and peace among your family.  The joy of preparation for the inevitable, and the kindness of knowing that everything is in order.  Merry Christmas!

© 2010 Julie Hall

Sneak Peak 2: Another Excellent List

Today, I’m giving you another look at the practical content of my new book, A Boomer’s Guide to Cleaning Out Your Parents’ Estate in 30 Days or Less.  This book is a carry-along guide, full of practical checklists and worksheets, and so much wisdom from my 20 years of experience in this field.  Click on the link to the right of this blog entry to get your own copy.  Buy one for each of your siblings too!


Ideally, you have gotten all paperwork organized and accounted for, but in so many situations, this is not the case.  What follows is a list of what needs to be accumulated in order to best deal with your parents’ estate:

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Investment statements
  • Life Insurance policies
  • Automobile insurance
  • Safe combination
  • Credit card information
  • Computer passwords
  • Address book
  • Real estate documents
  • see my book for 12 more items you will need to have ready…

Knowing all the people who may have assisted your parents with the above paperwork may help you locate it.

  • Banker
  • In-home care professional
  • Accountant
  • Financial Planner
  • Doctor
  • there are 5 more people listed in my book…

Important papers are often stashed in unusual places.  Consider these locations when going through the home in search of paperwork and important documents.

  • Under or in mattresses
  • Books or Family Bible
  • Above cabinets, cornices
  • Closets – unmarked boxes
  • Luggage compartments
  • Behind or in picture frames
  • Bottom of dresser drawers
  • there’s many more places to search listed in my book…

How to empty the family home without losing your mindThat’s a concept that every Boomer should value, and this book gives you all you need!  Since it begins with a section on “One or Both Parents are Living and Still in Their Home”, you’ll be able to use this guide immediately and keep using it until you actually have to clean out the home.

© 2010 Julie Hall

Update: My New Book is Now Available in Print

A Boomer’s Guide to Cleaning Out Your Parents’ Estate in 30 Days or Less is now available online in print.  It is soft-bound, like a workbook, with 82 pages.  Every Boomer with retired or elderly parents should have a copy of this book!  Please buy this book before the crisis so you’ll be prepared and armed with knowledge, resources, and guidance.

To buy from Amazon.com, simply click on the link to the right of the blog under “Books By Julie”.  The book is also available through Barnes & Noble online.

I’d love to hear your comments here at my blog, but especially, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Thanks!

© 2010 Julie Hall

Announcing my new book!

“A Boomer’s Guide to Cleaning Out Your Parents’ Estate in 30 Days or Less” is finally ready!  It is currently available as an e-book which you can download and print out (http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?BODY=viewbook&BOOK=686132).  Within the next two weeks, it will be available in print also.  I’ll include an update here on my blog when it has been released in print.

More than a “How-To” guide, A Boomer’s Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Out Your Parents’ House in 30 Days or Less is a “What To Do, When, and Why” take-along manual packed with meticulously compiled checklists, resources, and information. You are given logical, easy-to-follow steps so that you can literally clean out your parents’ house in less than 30 days. Best of all, you are given advice from a nationally acclaimed expert who has “seen it all” on how to do this for your own peace of mind and keep everyone’s best interests at heart.

Separate sections of this book cover practical checklists and resources to use when your parents are living and still in their home, when one or both parents are in failing health, and when parents have died and the estate remains.  This book includes many worksheets, checklists, and forms you will need to effectively handle cleaning out your parents’ home.  I want you to tuck this guide in your pocketbook or briefcase and use it throughout the process: my wisdom and experience at your fingertips.

Those of you who have read my first book, or read this blog for very long, know that I want to educate you.  That’s my goal!  There is a lack of information out there that handles cleaning out an estate, or dividing the estate contents equitably and without fighting.  I want to create helpful and very practical guides that cut through to the essentials, and give you all the tools to educate yourself and then do the task effectively.

© 2010 Julie Hall

A Word About Blended Families

Today, I’m answering a question from a reader.

Q: We have a blended family with grown children that are my husband’s, mine, and ours together.  We are long retired, the children are grown, and we know it is time to make some serious decisions about our estate and division of heirlooms.  For years, two of our children have been bickering over one piece in particular.  Naturally we want to be fair, but I think our biggest concern is if one of the children gets an heirloom that doesn’t really belong to them because they are not from that side of the family.  How can we handle this delicately?

A: About 40% of my clients have challenges with their blended family and personal property distribution.  Here are a few basic guidelines; stick with these.

Though children grow into adults, they still need our guidance.  At this stage, it is vital that you provide your children with precise directions for the time of your death.  Offer your children your last wishes, documents regarding heirlooms, Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, etc.  An attorney can help you prepare these documents, which are absolutely necessary.

As for heirlooms, engage in a frank discussion with your husband first.  Pull out a notepad and write down all of your decisions regarding all of your children and what you think each one should have.  Remember, if you do this for one child, you must do it for all of them.  It might be wise to enlist the help of an appraiser/personal property expert to help you ascertain the values of these possessions to keep the distribution financially equivalent for each child.

Keep a spreadsheet naming each child, then list the heirlooms that belong to each “bloodline”.  Next, call a family meeting with you, your husband, and your children only — No spouses of the children should be present.  It is best to do this in person, otherwise, make individual phone calls.  Share with your children your wishes and that you have documented who gets what and their current monetary values.

Make sure each child gets a copy of this document and make it very clear that there will be no feuding because these are your wishes and decisions.

Many clients leave it at that, which I do not recommend.  My suggestion is to arrange the transfer of that heirloom to the children while you are alive.  This way, fewer “mistakes” can happen after your death, and you will know everyone got everything you wanted them to have.  Peace of mind is a beautiful thing!

© 2010 Julie Hall