Estate Executors

When You Settle an Estate, the First Paper Sort is a Visit Through Someone Else’s Life

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Every estate executor faces this problem: what to do with the stacks and drawers full of unfamiliar bills, documents, and correspondence. Here’s what I did. My work as executor for my parents’ estates started years before their deaths. It started with Power of Attorney for their finances. It started with sorting out the mess and bits of paper my mother had stuffed in drawers and boxes throughout the house. I brought it all home and dumped everything on the largest expanse of uncluttered floor I could find and began sorting. Without giving every piece of paper a detailed read-over, I assigned it to a pile: medical, credit card, banking and financial, personal correspondence, etc. Everything assigned, I became a detective following paper trails. Did the medial bills match the insurance company statements, were all the department store and credit card bills paid in full, and where were their annual tax returns? My findings were amazing: along with all the bits of personal life bills, there were inactivated credit cards, books of blank checks from long-closed bank accounts, birth announcements for my brothers and cousins, loose cash, their marriage certificate, a life-time of greeting cards, and many photos. Essential documents and data (wills, social security info, deeds, birth certificates, etc.) went into a new secure file. Security-sensitive but no-longer necessary papers were shredded, others simply recycled. When I was satisfied bills and statements were paid in full, and accounts transferred or closed, I turned my attention to all those personal items. Each was a piece of familial or cultural history—the people in a photo, the style of a greeting card or its inscription. While the collection represented my family’s history, many pieces really belonged to someone else—my brothers and cousins. So, again I sorted, and each smaller grouping was mailed off with a short note. It was their decision to keep what they thought most important or worth sharing with children and grandchildren. Such is the work of an estate executor: making sense and sorting out all that is left behind. It is visit through someone else’s life. When you reach the end of the paper trail, it is off to the next task. Yet, no matter how much you empty drawers and cabinets, a baby photo or sentimental card might have become a bookmark or made its way into a pile of old linens. When we find these special family items, we at Life Made Simple Again put them aside for you. We treat your estate household as if it were our own, and are ready to step in and help find new homes for all the items you no longer wish to keep. Click to get in touch, and to discover how we can...

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