Print Story Dealing with the estate.
By wiredog (Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 03:53:51 PM EST) (all tags)
Dealing with Dad's estate is not as much of a hassle as I'd expected. In fact, things have, so far, been going pretty well. Considering.

No problem with the flight out. I'd already bought the tickets a few months ago, before he died. Since first class into Vegas and the shuttle to St George was cheaper than coach into Cedar City I'd bought those tickets, and Dad was going to meet me in St. George. My former boss from my first real post-college job picked me up instead and we spent the hour drive to Cedar catching up on the news.

Dad had so much stuff. a 4600 square foot house. 5 bedroom, 3 bath. Full of stuff. Not hoarder level (well, mostly) But a lot of stuff. In some ways that made sorting through to figure out what I would keep much easier, since the answer was "very little..." A few pieces of furniture, lots of kitchen things, some of the art, some other random stuff.

Since the scare a year and a half ago we'd talked about what to do with many of the things and Dad, being an engineer type, had a list ready.

He had a glacier map collection which went to Stanford. His books on the settlement of the southwestern US were to go to the SUU library, and his art collection to the Southern Utah Museum of Art. He had a guy he had been doing business with on model railroading for years who would take all that on consignment, and the company he did business with for his stamp and coin collections is in Annapolis. Cousin R will take the genealogy stuff and sort through that.

The disposal of the glacier map collection had already been set up, and the woman from the Stanford Library was to come out and collect them on May 8th, which was the day Dad died. Fortunately I was able to contact her before she left Palo Alto (otherwise, "awwwkward").

I started in the office. Whenever Dad came across an article on a website that he wanted to read later, he printed it out. Magazine articles that he wanted to read later he saved. Filled 5 of the boxes that reams of paper come in full of that sort of stuff.

He had receipts going back decades. Every tax return going back to 1949. Bank books. Etc. Etc. Flyers and advertising from places we went on vacations to. A few of those sorts of things I kept. Most I didn't. It came to 2 boxes (the small book boxes) of paper. All the tax documents from last year and the year before, and the 1040s going back to 1949 (probably will read once, then toss). A few of the interesting looking booklets and flyers. Other odds and ends from the office. Saved all the plaques, awards, and diplomas he had framed and on the wall. Not sure what I will do with those. Only saved a few books, enough to fill one book box. None of his books were particularly rare or valuable, at least not since the internet made used books worldwide easily discoverable.

Slides. He started taking pictures in the late 40's. Nine medium boxes of slides to sort through. He went digital about 10 years ago and must have thousands of pictures on the hard drive. So the slide projector, carousels, and screen are coming here.

His stamp collection filled 2 of the paper ream boxes, and a couple of the mediums. The coin collection 2 of the small boxes.

I saved some of his scratch-built railroad models, but not many, since I don't have any real display space, and wouldn't in a larger house, either.

July 4th the first of the cousins arrived, the other 3 came in over the next few days. Haven't spent that much time with them since I was 12. Good to have family around to help with the sorting and packing. They each took a couple smaller pieces of art. We packed the kitchen stuff and padded it with towels and other linens, and some bubble wrap (Dad saved all the bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts that were used to pad things he'd bought). Packed some smaller tchotchkes and artsy things too. All the stuff I'm keeping would fit into a 15 foot U-haul if packed tightly, and into a 17 footer easily. Not that I was planning to do that.

The guy taking the train stuff came out after July 4th, filled a Sprinter type van full, and came back the next week for the rest. That week also saw the art museum come out for the art. 77 pieces in 3 trips. The SUU Library took all his books. He had over a dozen shelves overfull of books, plus others scattered about. They also took some of his maps, and some random other stuff he had laying about. The U.S. Air Force Lunar maps from the 60's, that sort of thing. Any they don't want for their collections will go on the dollar table. Took them multiple trips over the course of the day to get everything. (The school is a mile from the house.)

Stanford took all the glacier maps and journals and it turned out that the librarian knew another person there who had a collection of road maps. Yes, Dad had an extensive collection of those, too.

After 3 days of various people from various places going through, the house was (only) half empty.

Stanford had hired a local company to pack the maps, and they recommended a moving company to me. The movers quoted $3000, which is (arguably) less than a U-Haul (figuring rental, fuel, hotel rooms, and the cost of a week off of work without pay). At twice the price it would be worth it just to not have the hassle. They're picking up on the 8th of September, for delivery 2 to 4 weeks later. Not being in a hurry saves a bit of cash, too.

Mom was, when it came to the kitchen, a completist. A complete set of fancy Spode china, service for 8. Denby stoneware (Flair pattern) complete with coffee pot (I'm keeping the plates that are left, and the tea pot (service for 8)). Silver. Again, service for 8. And another less fancy china set. How to dispose of all that? An estate sale firm, of course. A few hours research showed that there was one company that would work in Cedar, and did internet auctions. Fortunately everyone I talked to about them said that they were very good, because there isn't much choice. They charge a 45% commission on everything they sell but that's better than I could do on my own. The estate sale is the weekend of September 15th. They would prefer that I not be there, which is good since I would prefer not to be there either.

Former boss had a realtor that she worked with and recommended, so I hired him. The house is on the market, but we can't close (modulo rentbacks) until after the estate sale.

Got a lot more done than I expected to, so one more trip to Utah, September 2nd through 10th, and then I'm probably done with that.

Dad's cremated remains caught up with me a couple days ago, so now Dad is in a box, in a closet, until Aunt and I figure out where he goes next. No hurry on that though.
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Dealing with the estate. | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
1040s by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:03:29 PM EST
I think there's some interesting historical value there --- how has the form changed over time? i'd be interested in that answer, at least.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
That's why I kept them. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:07:51 PM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
also by aphrael (4.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:04:24 PM EST
holy shit, dude. get someone to scan the slides. there's got to be a gold mine there.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
First I gotta sort through them by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:09:08 PM EST
Then get the ones I'm interested in scanned. Some, like the London trips in the 60's and the Brazilian jungle trips in the 50's, may have Actual Historical Value.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
not just those by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:33:42 PM EST
but actual "what was home like in 1946" slides have historical value, too.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Mrs. Ha and her siblings held an estate sale by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:09:43 PM EST
to get rid of her dad and his wife's stuff. While they made some cash, they probably should have hired someone and not have been there.

There were thoughtless comments, bad deals offered, and possibly veiled threats.

We ended up with a picture of the infant Jesus dressed up Renaissance like, some small trinkets, and some cash. I got a few sweaters, too.

Two anecdotes by ana (4.00 / 3) #7 Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 05:32:09 PM EST
[1] From clearing out my parents' house to sell it. My older sister and I converged from opposite coasts and spent several days, and hired "Gone for Good" which would either dispose of or sell stuff (splitting the proceeds with us if any). C came around the corner at one point with a 1958-style coffee can (the ones with the steel key that wound up a strip of steel to open the lid) in her hand. "Did you lose your marbles? I found your marbles."  I remember cutting my fingers on the rough edges of that can lid many times.

[2] A friend reports that his daughter was crying about missing her grandmother, which, fair enough. People grieve at their own pace. "She's in a better place now," he said. "On top of the piano."


Or get rabies. Also don't do that. --scrymarch

Woof. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jul 27, 2017 at 12:20:23 PM EST
Not an easy process. You should know, though - your experience was one of the things that pushed SWHTL and I to have the estate planning discussion with our moms. We bought a planning notebook for ourselves as well, I've been dawdling about filling it out, partly because I don't want to think about it and partly because... I don't really care. If I go first, SWHTL gets everything. If she goes first, when I die they can leave my body in the house and throw a molotov through the window for all I care.

Actually, I might prefer that. The neighbors would be pissed, though. 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
Dealing with the estate. | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)