Yeah, sometimes that’s what we really say. The real title to this post should be more like, “My friend has left all this stuff behind. I really don’t know what to do and I don’t have any help. I’m overwhelmed and this is going to take a lot more time than I’d imagined. I loved my friend and this needs to be done right. Woe is me . . . What do I do now?” If you find yourself in this overwhelmed condition, here are three easy steps to help you get through.
- You don’t have to go through this alone, seek the counsel of a competent attorney. It shouldn’t cost you anything, the dollars you spend here are reimbursable by the estate and having an attorney guide you through the process will be great comfort to you. You may still need to do some of the leg work, but at least you’ll have a direction to go in.
- Resist the temptation to begin giving things away. Too many times we’ve seen an old uncle, a niece, nephew, brother, sister, or even the neighbor next door come to claim some item that was promised to them and of course, rarely do they want the humble pot in the corner; no, they swear it was the Rembrandt hanging on the wall. When all this giving away is over, there’s nothing of any value left.
- Call a reputable professional to help you wade through the “stuff.” Just about anyone can recommend an estate company, just make sure you vet them properly to ensure you’re getting a professional. Nothing is better than hiring a well-researched company who can get you from point A to point B in a smooth, efficient manner.
Closing out an estate, dodging all the pitfalls and minefields, is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication and work, salted with love for the missing. You’re doing it because it needs to be done. And here’s one last tip for you, don’t throw anything away! At least until you’ve talked to a professional . . . I’ll tell you more on that next time.