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Very often, heirs of estates will arrive at their family home with no idea of how to proceed. Lawyers hoping to close the estate as soon as possible often are not familiar with what items of value might be in their clients’ homes. They must rely on their client to inform them. Very often this knowledge is not given to the attorney, fiduciary, trust officer, executor, or CPA. Frequently, there are no receipts of purchases, insurance reports, or lists or provenance of items found in the home. The decedent purchased the items over a lifetime, many times for a minimal amount, lived with the items over the years, and have not realized they have increased in value.
For example, a plein air painting purchased for $75 from the trunk of an artist’s car in 1950 can be worth over $35,000 today. The decedent still considered the painting worth $75, the children consider it a painting that has been on the wall for a long time with no particular value. A picker or neighbor could buy it for $150 and the family would think they are making a big profit. We frequently receive calls on this type of situation.
It’s too late! Call me before it happens. Always get an educated opinion backed up by research.