Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We're Having an Estate Sale

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. -Eric Hoffer

Let you in? Uh, no. Image from
You know how they say that criminals return to the scene of the crime? I thought it was a literary device until today. The relative who stole thousands of dollars of stuff from my mother's garage came back to take  some more, yell at the estate sale people and threaten to stop the sale (so she can steal everything in the house at her leisure, presumably). She was waiting there when Mom got there today because another relative posted Mom's itinerary on goddamn Facebook.

I generally don't like open letters, but I don't have many other ways of communicating with the people involved. So here's the deal:

Mom needs to have this sale. Not having it would be about a $10,000 loss for Mom. If anyone tries to stop it at this late date, it will result in Mom being successfully sued since she signed a contract and the estate sale people have put in two weeks' work to prepare for the sale. Mom might also have a hard time finding another estate sale company later: I can't imagine these people want anything more to do with our family and may tell their colleagues to avoid us. There aren't many companies in the Denver area that can handle an estate sale as large as this one. If we can't engage another company, most of Mom's stuff will end up at Goodwill--unless someone wants to store her stuff and wait for it to sell, piece by piece, on Craigslist. An important condition: you have to give the money to Mom. Any takers? 

Should anyone still think going to the house and causing a stink is a brilliant idea, let me share an email I sent to the estate sale company:

B----, as we discussed, ------- and her daughter ------- are not authorized to be at my mother's house at -----------------. They are not authorized to take anything from the property. There is nothing there that belongs to them or was promised to them. Please do not let them in the house. If they come and refuse to leave, please call the sheriff to report that they are trespassing. Contrary to ---------'s statement, I do have power of attorney for my mother and will forward a copy to you tonight. If you need to speak to my mother directly, she can be reached at my house at (number). Thank you for your cooperation and patience, and please extend apologies from me and my mother to your staff for ------- and ---------'s rudeness. -Lori Miller
Mom and other relatives may have bugaboos about clapping a family member in jail, but I don't, and B---- says he's thrown other people's family members out of estate sales before. He has my blessing to do it again.

UPDATE: If you were planning to take Mom to the house today, I appreciate the thought, but please feel free to make other plans.   


tess said...

[shaking head] it's MIND-BLOWING how many people act so irrationally these days.... my best wishes for your business working out in a positive fashion....

Lori Miller said...

The day of pushing such people off an ice floe are gone.

Galina L. said...

Why every step on the road to find order has to be so difficult for you? I hope real estate people are not discouraged, usually the people who work with people had a chance to observe all sort of oddities.

Lori Miller said...

Why? Partly that so many people have a sense of entitlement, I guess. People have come out of the woodwork expecting gifts--or to pay practically nothing for get something Mom is selling. But making a donation in Dad's name to Bonfils? Exactly one relative and one organization Dad belonged to have done so. I owe them a thank-you note.

There's a lot of stuff I wish my parents had done some five or ten years ago (like downsizing) that would have made this easier.

And I think some people know a few facts and hear a few complaints from Mom and think they're doing a great service by, say, trying to cancel the sale. They don't know all the consequences of not having the sale and they wouldn't be able to deal with them.

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness - how bad things can get.

Hope things are sorted soon for you

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

Thanks, Jan.

Val said...

Oh my - I'm sorry this has been so challenging Lori! I dread the final clear-out of my folks' house, since I **MAY** have to face a couple of my thieving cousins (not sure whether just one, or both in tandem - stole mom's jewelry box after they did some work at her house... Yes of course my mom refused to prosecute)

Galina L. said...

On one hand, I am sorry that everybody from my extended family is so far away, but on another hand, most of my relatives I don't miss, just some. Friends are better - you choose them and they choose you.

Lori Miller said...

Galina, if I never saw any of my family again, the only two people I'd miss would be my mother and her sister. For all the family members who live around here, very few have been any help. But a few friends of the family have been life savers.

Lori Miller said...

Sorry to hear that, Val.

A couple of tips: hire an estate sale company to clear out your parents' house. The company I hired did in two weeks what would have taken my months of weekends to do--and at the end, your parents' house will be ready to sell. I've heard stories of people just giving stuff away or hauling to the dump or renting storage space where the stuff got ruined--and some of the items turned out to be valuable. Second, change the locks and umplug the garage door opener. Finally, get POA and send the estate sale company an email like the one I sent. (The relative who stole stuff went there claiming she lived there--in fact, she never did.)