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Saturday, August 24, 2013

5 valuable tips for dealing with personal property in an estate

This article from does exactly what its title says; it gives some valuable tips for anyone who is acting as an executor for an estate. Though the article doesn't specifically mention someone acting as a Power of Attorney for a parent whose capacity is diminished, the same tips and rules apply.

Click here to read the article.

The main concepts behind these tips are simple, and make perfect sense. Make sure you know what things are worth, and get appraisers to help you with that. And why are these tips so important? They matter for at least two reasons.

The first is that as an executor or Power of Attorney, you are duty-bound to do  your best for the person you represent. Don't take the job if you're too busy or too far away or simply don't care. You're not doing the person you represent any favours by simply giving items away or, in the other extreme, refusing to sell something until you get a price that everyone else knows is unreasonable. Get someone to help you!

The second is that executors and Powers of Attorney can be held personally liable for disposing of items too cheaply. That means if you hold a garage sale and sell a $20,000 heirloom for $2 because you didn't find out what it really was, you could personally be on the line for the $20,000. And of course there will be a court case to deal with, expenses, lawyers, all that other good stuff.

Following these tips will help avoid a lot of needless trouble.


  1. That is very nerve racking that if I sell a loved one's item for less than the real value, I might get into legal trouble. I'd think that people would want to do their due diligence and make sure that items get sold at real value. If my loved ones or I put someone in charge of discharging our estate, they darn well better have an idea of realized values of our items. This means, I really have to know who is working for me and what education they have.

    1. I agree, Bryan. People make really, really poor choices of executor. I mean really foolish choices. They base their choice on things like the person being their oldest child, without regard to whether that person has any clue what to do, or any sense of responsibility. It's something I've been ranting about for years!



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