Experts say that type of thing happens more than you might think---often when families get rid of a loved one's estate, not knowing what items are really worth. But there are services that can help you avoid that pit fall.
Kerri Shimp is getting a history lesson on the Holocaust, not from a text book, but from a collection of antiques once owned by a Holocaust survivor, Marcia Holinsky. Holinsky died last fall, and now Shimp is helping her family sort through her belongings.
"We do a lot of research online so we take pride in the time we spend working through the items we have and getting realistic prices for those items if they want to have them sold," said Shimp, owner of Caring Transitions of Northeast Iowa.
Holinsky's daughter is grateful to have stumbled upon Shimp's company. After her mother died, determining what to do with all her things was quite a challenge, especially given the history involved.
"It was so hard for me to decide what do I do? I felt guilty getting rid of it or trying to sell it or give it away, but then I thought well what do I do? You know, it was a very hard decision to make. I'm just hoping whoever receives her furniture will just cherish it like we did," Doreen Holinsky said.
Shimp says it's a common dilemma families find themselves in when a loved one has died or is moved into a care facility. Often, volumes of items like these can be so overwhelming, families can be tempted to just throw things out, or donate them to charity.
"People really underestimate the value of what they have, especially when it comes to artifacts that are of times past. Many people live in their homes 30, 40 years, and there's a lot of history the kids don't understand what's there and the parents just want to get rid of it. So we're there to help kind of bridge the gap," said Shimp.
Holinsky's family misses her dearly, but they're glad to be hanging onto some of her heirlooms, while getting help finding her other valuables another good home. Whether you choose to hire Caring Transitions or another service, it's good to investigate all your options before making a decision you might regret later.
"If you think it's trash, it could be someone's treasure," said Shimp.
Experts say it's also important to think about making a will for yourselves and loved ones. That will help avoid problems when it comes to determining how to handle an estate.
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