Home is where the heart resides. Structures that have protectedfamilies, engrossed the happiness and confidences of children, sheltered mementos and seen the emotional sustenance of family dinners. Homes like this are filled with life. Thus, when an event occurs where the home must be sold, the process can be difficult.
Within my own family, my grandmother moved into a senior community. It took our Grammy nearly a year to emotionallydetach from the home she treasured, and where she had loved and raised a family.
Some adults worry that their aging parents will get better in one way or another, or will at some point want to return home. Sometimes the home becomes less about the physical possessions and more about the mental security that there will always be a place to go back too. Normally they lose the ability to care for the home as they once could.
Here are some tips on cleaning out your loved one’s home:
1. Divide the physical labor. This is a big job and you will need help. Don’t be shy about asking for a hand from close family members, friends or even their personal aide.
2. Be thorough, even when you’re exhausted. Take your time and make sure you are not missing anything too valuable or meaningful.
3. Locate all key financial documents. Before throwing away any papers, find and put aside the will, trusts and addenda; life insurance policies and statements, real estate deeds and titles; recent bank statements (you can get older ones electronically); stock certificates; 401(k) records; tax returns and receipts necessary for filing next year's income tax return. Talk with an attorney about how to transfer assets to named beneficiaries.
4. Hire an estate appraiser to value furniture, jewelry and antiques. This accredited professional will give you an estimate for each item, charging an hourly fee. The cost will depend on such factors as your location and the type of appraisal you want. You might pay $75 to $250 an hour for a general appraisal; $300 an hour for a fine arts appraisal.
5. Preserve sentimental photos and memorabilia. These are irreplaceable.
6. Be strategic about donating or selling clothing. Consignment stores will take items they think they can sell, price them fairly low and keep 50 percent of what people pay; the price goes down if the clothes go unsold after a month.
7. One last tip: Consider the cleaning-out job a labor of love. As hard as it will be, clearing out your loved one’s home will be one of the last significant gifts you can do.
The house will continue to provide security and safety to your loved one even after it is no longer their home. Today, elders are living longer and the cost of taking care of them can become a burden to the entire family. Profits from the sale of the family home and surplus furnishings are an effective way to pay for the care they need such as assisted living. Although that does notmake the goodbye any more relaxed it will give you dome comfort to know that the decision will help guarantee their well-being.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.