Holidays are embraced as a time to celebrate and spend time with family and other important persons in our lives.  In general, what are we celebrating?   My top three reasons for celebration are:

Life

Relationships

Freedom

I would like to say that I celebrate life each day.  Embrace it fully with gratitude.  Some days are better than others for claiming that stance.  As we accumulate moments and memories in life many of us also accumulate stuff.  Collections, gifts, inherited items all seem to funnel into our lives.  Families are often burdened with making decisions about these belongings which are often perceived as wed to relationships or memories.

I like to think of my relationships with family as layered like a trifle.  Spongy cake, bright juicy berries, and fluffy whip topping.  However, when there are only a few cherries who gets those cherries?  If we think of the great items in our families as cherries we can see that it can be tough deciding who gets the prized fruits?  Do we divide them?  Do we subtract cake if you get a cherry?  Does Mom worry if there are not enough cherries someone will be upset so she just ignores serving them and pushes them aside?  Can a conversation possibly be the gate to freedom for Mom – the current caretaker of the family heirlooms ?

Honor Mom.  Celebrate her life, your family, and memories.  Reflect.  Would your Mom appreciate directness if you ask that some items be professionally valued and divided now?  Would it make her load lighter on a daily basis ?  I encourage families to discuss important belongings.  Not only for decisions regarding disbursement, but to record history and provenance.

As an appraiser I find meaning at several levels in the old adage – “There is no time like the present.” Increasingly I find that many adult children have no room or desire to take in a vast array of “goodies”.

Is engaging a professional broker to sell some items now a scenario that warrants family discussion? Professional appraisers can fulfill the role of a broker. I personally always have a client or two somewhere in the brokerage process and offer client tailored solutions based on many important factors.  Call today to discuss your situation and factors surrounding your situation.  The phone consultation is free.

What if Mom is gone and you are facing dividing items amongst heirs ?  Obtaining a professional, objective 3rd party decision so that the “cherries” don’t become a problem is often a wise step.  Appraisers can assist in equitable distribution.  If one member of the family takes a bigger scoop of trifle and a cherry,  then they should get less cash or other assets? Making sure that there is no room for doubt, hurt, or the potential relationship damage is one of the tasks executors face.  An appraiser can offer solutions.  For example, this week I am assisting two families in this process.  Neither possess a great deal of personal property, but the involved parties realize worth beyond the value of the items in engaging my services.

If Mom wants to live with all her items and the family decides that disbursement will come later then consider whether items need to be appraised to document ownership, what the item is, and determine the replacement value.  As the policy holder these are the three pieces of information that will need to be established for items you own in event of loss.  Knowing and recording these facts allows for informed decisions regarding insurance coverage.

The market changes, what was valuable decades ago may or may not be valuable.  What was put in “the back room” could now be sought.  Professional appraisers know the market.  Call today if you desire a proficient appraiser to value your valuables.  Val knows Value – call today to discover options for engaging a professional who understands the “soft” and hard issues involved with a family’s personal property.

Wishing you and your family continued and happy celebrations.

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