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Losing a Parent

September 4, 2019

 

 As some of you may know, my father just passed away.  I'm not telling you this to ask for condolences.  Actually, it has made me realize that many of my clients will be facing this same situation at some point.

 

Most of us will reach that age where our parents leave us forever and we are left to pick up the pieces.  One of those pieces just happens to be their home.

 

Now, whether you choose to keep your parent's home for yourself or choose to sell it, there are a few very important factors you need to consider.

 

Have it inspected

 

My father was wonderful man but he was also in his 90's when he passed and had a difficult time remembering things.  He wasn't able to maintain his home anymore and there were plenty of people who wanted his money but didn't bother to do their jobs, knowing he couldn't check their work.  Unfortunately, this is a common situation and I lived hundreds of miles away from him.  I just wasn't able to help the way that I wanted to.

 

Whenever you find yourself in possession of any home, you should always have it inspected. This is normally done at transfer of ownership but can be done in a casual way to see if there are items to consider before sell or keep are made. Not all problems are obvious to the casual eye and the elderly don't always see the wear and tear.  

Consider having it updated

 

 

Now, I won't say that my father's home looks dated, but it does look worn.  The flooring throughout the house needs to be replaced.  The fireplace should be cleaned.  The back windows need to be changed out to match the ones up front.

 

Also, if the home is one you plan on moving into or it is in a retirement community, you might want to think about changing things up so it is set up for aging in place.  Remodeling the bathroom so that it is wheelchair accessible or making sure that there is easy access to the front doors for those in walkers or with canes is always a good idea.

 

Don't forget to check the home for surprises

 

If your parents are Depression babies, you might want to check the property thoroughly.  The older we get the more we revert to what we were taught as children.  During the Depression, people hid money and valuables throughout their homes because they didn't trust the banks.  Obviously, this will depend on your parents, but it is always wise to double check to make sure that they haven't hidden money around.

 

This also applies if your parents dealt with Alzheimer's or demensia.  My mother had Alzheimer's and we found partially used bars of soap, missing glasses, and family photos in the strangest places.  You never know what family memories may be hidden away.

 

A few other suggestions

 

-Always value others memories as much as your own. Check with relatives to see if they have a special 'bond" with an item. If there is more than one who wishes an item: draw straws!

- Take all the loads of photos and set up viewing area and envelopes for relatives to browse through and take with the,. Try to have a history review captured on paper for the younger ones as well.

 

I hope that this helps if you are dealing with a similar situation.  Thank you for reading and have a good day.

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