Sorting the contents of an estate is an enormous and complicated task. While the most precious items in a home may have little monetary value, it’s vital to find the things that do. Family members, even if they have time to do the work, may not know where to look or may fail to recognize valuable property.
A colleague told me that she once found $15,000 worth of jewelry in a client’s garbage. The heirs of the estate had gone through the house, trash bags in hand, throwing things away – and didn’t want her to waste time looking through what they’d already bagged up. Fortunately for them, she decided to check anyway!
This is a recent news story about a Massachusetts man who found upwards of $20,000 in a used book:
He’s not a rich man. A Brazilian immigrant who has been in the US for 30 years, he remembers what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck, and as a family man with a child in college, he still has to watch his pennies.
One of his joys is stopping by the book exchange at the Recycling and Disposal Facility when he drops off trash for his Wellesley employer. He has built a sizeable collection of old National Geographic magazines that way, and he picks up other items that catch his eye, like a 1909 scrapbook full of charming cards and other mementos of the era. That’s what he was doing on Oct. 12 – Dumpster-diving near the book shelves. He checked out some children’s books, then picked up a bigger book and casually leafed through it. That’s when he spotted the cash.
The book had been carefully hollowed out, and inside were stacks of cash. When he counted them, he discovered that they came not to hundreds of dollars, but thousands – more than $20,000.
Perhaps the book’s owner had died or gone to a nursing home, and the family had just thrown out the books they didn’t want. Perhaps the owner had somehow forgotten the money was inside. There was no way to know, because there was nothing on the outside or inside of the book that would allow the owner to be traced. (Reported by Cathy Brauner, Wellesley Townsman Editor, wickedlocal.com)
A professional estate organizer knows how to search for valuables within a home. In this way, and in many other ways, the cost of hiring a knowledgeable professional can more than pay for itself.