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Grandma Was A Hoarder

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2013 | Firm News, Probate |

Losing A Loved One Is Hard

After the loss of a Loved One, members of the family typically have a lot on their mind. Between planning the funeral and contacting others, there is often a lot to get finished in a short amount of time. However, sometimes the biggest challenge occurs well after the funeral.

A Story About A Minnesota Family

A Minnesota married couple, whom I will call Darrell and Louise, live in Burnsville. Louise has an elderly mother, who I will call Mabel, who lives in a 100 year old house in southwest Minneapolis. Last spring, Mabel came down with pneumonia and quickly passed away.

During the funeral, Louise found herself thinking about the old house that her mother had lived in all those years. It was a large Victorian style home, with lots of room throughout its four levels. While Louise had usually visited Mabel every week, she rarely went up to the attic or down to the basement. Louise seemed to remember lots of antiques and other things on the rare occasions when she did venture up the stairs.

When Darrell and Louise went to Mabel’s house the day before the funeral, they decided to do some exploring. Their discoveries seemed like elements of a historical novel.

Reviewing The Estate

Inside the attic were boxes upon boxes, with all kinds of items sticking out of them. A few things, such as the three sets of fine silverware in sitting in carved wooden crates, seemed like they were valuable. Other items, like the 40 antique dolls wrapped in cloth and put in boxes, seemed like they might be valuable.

Louise could feel her mind working overtime to process all of the objects in front of her. Where should she even start?

Concerns About The Estate

It is understandable that Darrell and Louise feel a sense of being overwhelmed in this situation. Like many people who are dealing with this type of situation, they are concerned about a number of things:

  • Protecting the house from burglars and vandals now that it is vacant
  • Determining the value of strange and/or antique possessions
  • Sorting then selling the antiques before they are lost, damaged, or no longer valuable

Clearly, this is a challenging situation. Darrell and Louise would be wise to consult with an experienced probate attorney to discuss how to handle their situation. Additionally, they need to be certain they do not violate their obligations to other possible heirs in dealing with Mabel’s old possessions.

Many people have found themselves facing the prospect of determining how to handle old or antique possessions after a Loved One has passed away. While it may seem daunting, this process can be dealt with accordingly, leaving the family with peace and comfort.

Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Probate Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. His firm, Peterson Law Office, is pleased to help sort out the intricacies of Minnesota Probate. For more information, please visit http://www.mnprobate.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.

The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.