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Family Advice from the Senior Living Experts: “Begin the Conversation Early”

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on January 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Guest Blog by Adele Lund, Director, Community & Business Relations, Laureate Group “I’ve had the pleasure of working with thousands of adult children as they navigate the transition of a loved one from their home of many years to a senior community or care facility. I have observed that when a family hasn’t had an ongoing dialogue with their parent about possible changes in the future, siblings often form different ideas of what would be ...

Securing Valuables

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on December 5, 2015 at 5:35 PM
Once you make a decision to move or store some of your belongings or even remodel your home, it is important to evaluate whether any of your personal valuables could be at risk for damage or theft. If you are one of the thousands of people who will move  next year and have not yet considered how to organize or protect your valuables, the following suggestions may help you secure important papers, small valuables, coins, jewelry, passpo...

The Five Things We Can Learn From a 70-Year-Old Home Buyer

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on November 12, 2015 at 11:33 AM
Mature home buyers between the ages of 69-89 (the Silent Generation) make up only 10 percent of the recent home purchases in the United States according to the National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. What are the motivations of this age group to purchase real estate at this time in their life and what do they desire as home owners? SRES® conducted an interview with a 70-year-old home buyer to fin...

Communicating with Older Parents

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on October 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Often times family members hesitate to talk with their aging parents about common topics of concern such as changes to health, transportation, home care, legal and financial issues as well as retirement housing.   Geriatric professionals suggest it is much better to have these parent conversations sooner rather than later. It is often too late to make informed decisions or be sensitive to everyone’s point of view once a personal or medic...

The Caring Transitions Move Calendar

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on August 31, 2015 at 10:00 AM
A company sponsored relocation can be a great moving experience, especially when your company has provided a personal coordinator to assist you with every step. But, for those who may be moving on their own or coordinating a move for an older parent, relocation logistics may be overwhelming. Caring Transitions® is designed specifically to support your family much the same way a corporate relocation counselor does. We offer the professional help...

"Green Moving" Practices

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on August 2, 2015 at 10:11 AM
At Caring Transitions we also encourage consumers to consider “green moving” practices as they prepare for your next move or relocation:  Packing materials: When consumers shred documents in preparation for a household move, they can place the paper shreds in cloth, paper or plastic bags that are already in the home. Seal the bags and use the entire package as protective packing material instead of toxic “peanuts” or bubble wrap.  The bags and pa...

What Families Should Know: Online Auction Fraud

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on July 9, 2015 at 2:51 PM

Over the past few years increased activity in online sales has also attracted those elements interested in committing fraud. According to the FBI’s latest report of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), approximately one in every four complaints involve online auction scams. Learn more about what the The FBI recommends to help protect yourself from online fraud.

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Estate Sale Professional

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on May 29, 2015 at 9:43 AM

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Estate Sale Professional

When seeking an estate sale company, the following questions may help you hire the right professional for your task.

#1 – How long will it take to set up a sale in my home?

The amount of time needed to set up a sale may depend on the quantity and condition of your possessions. Obtaining an estimate is important. Ask your estate sales representative how they perform their estimates. Companies should not guarantee the total value of your sale, as the success of the sale is subject to the amount of traffic and competitive bids received during the sale. These factors which are often influenced by weather or the number of competitive sales that fall on the same day or weekend.

Caring Transitions® has the ability to provide a free, electronic, in-home estimate for all of your projects. Our “Project Accelerator” estimates are based on the size of your home, the volume of goods and the services you require.

#2 – What is your commission structure?

All Estate Sale companies base their fees on a percent of the sale. Percentages in the U.S. range from 30% to 60%, depending on services provided and the overall estimated value of the sale.

Hiring a company that offers the lowest percentage does not mean you will make more money. A skilled professional, who can advertise directly to a list of interested buyers may in fact increase your overall profit, even while charging a higher percentage.

Caring Transitions® commissions include services to  categorize goods and stage your home, price your items, provide any necessary research or professional resources for high value items, set up the sale, advertise, optimize our EstateSales.net membership, take promotional photos, provide tables and other merchandising fixtures, set up displays, schedule employees to manage the sale, secure permits, arrange for security, place signage, send invitations to known buyers,  provide oversight and traffic control during the sale, manage financial transactions and provide a final reconciliation and accounting of sale items.

#3 – Are there fees besides your commission?

Many companies charge an administrative fee to account for miscellaneous items such as travel and sorting/cleaning inventory. Credit card fees may also be billed separately, although not all providers are able to accept credit cards.

Caring Transitions®  may charge an administration fee or a “minimum” fee.   Minimums are common for professional organizations, especially, as mentioned above, when the value of the sale is expected to be low and labor is expected to be high.  Caring Transitions does accept credit cards in order to encourage larger transactions.

#4 – Are you insured, trained and certified? Is your staff?

The Estate Sale industry is unregulated and can be a haven for scam artists and unethical companies. It is important to understand how providers are qualified to serve you. Many companies do not have regular staff, but hire contract workers or friends to help with a sale.

Caring Transitions® has completed a rigorous corporate training program in addition to our own field expertise.  We employ regular W-2 employees, all of whom are corporately trained and subject to a security background screening. Staffing will be discussed with you as the size of the sale is determined. Our office is also accountable to a parent corporation and must meet all professional standards including liability insurance, worker’s compensation, corporate oversight on legal matters, industry training and independent industry certification.

How do you Choose a Mover That’s Best for Your Move?

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on May 13, 2015 at 7:18 PM

Caring Transitions manages everything before and after the moving van drives away, but…

“How do you Choose a Mover That’s Best for Your Move?”

By the American Moving and Storage Association

Are you getting ready to move? Worried about what could go wrong? Well, the answer is “a lot!”–especially if you try to do it all yourself.

“Do it yourself” costs can add up quickly, from truck and equipment rental, to boxes and tape, to fuel for your truck, and more. Not to mention the possibility of seriously injuring yourself or someone you love from lifting heavy furniture, or the worry and hassle of being responsible for everything that goes wrong.

That’s why hiring a professional mover — a ProMover — is  a smart decision that saves you time and effort while providing the best protection for your household goods or business assets.

ProMover takes the worry and hassle out of moving by helping you quickly and easily find a qualified, reputable mover near you. The program was also launched to fight back against moving company imposters — criminals pretending to be a moving company who are out to make a quick buck at your expense.

The American Moving and Storage Association verifies that all ProMovers are fully licensed and insured. We even go one step further to conduct a background check, and we review the company’s website to make sure they’re using proper advertising. The nearly 3,000 ProMovers are truly among the industry’s best, and they have committed themselves to honest and ethical business practices.

The ProMover program has been recognized by Consumer Reports, AARP, Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. In fact, the Council of Better Business Bureaus has said, “Consumers can rely on ProMovers to receive honest and reliable household goods moves.”

So what should you do before choosing a mover to avoid being scammed?

First, do some comparison shopping. Even if you are considering handling the move yourself, you should get at least three written, in-home estimates so you can make an informed decision. These are free estimates, so you have nothing to lose by inviting a mover into your home so you can find out if a professional move is the best option for you.

Make sure you show the mover everything that needs to be moved, from the attic to the basement, including any sheds, garages and storage areas. Avoid any unusually high or low estimates, and if someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible you’re being scammed.

If the mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that also can be a warning sign. Consider a mover with a physical location near you, and ask if you can visit their facility.

Finally, read everything carefully and make sure you have it all in writing, along with copies of everything you sign. And don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If you’re not getting the answers you need, it may be time to talk to another mover.

Remember: it’s important to trust your possessions with a professional — a certified ProMover. For a wealth of tips and resources that can help you plan your move, and to find a ProMover, go to Moving.org.

©American Moving and Storage Association

What Families Should Know: Steps of Probate

 Posted by Stephen Kinne on April 20, 2015 at 8:00 AM

What Families Should Know: Steps of Probate

This is the second in a series about probate. See our previous blog post to learn more.

When it comes to the probate process, some states have adopted a Uniform Probate Code (UPC) and adhere to a general set of laws. Other states have a different set of requirements and processes.  Yet, a general outline of probate includes:

Appointing a Personal Representative

This role is usually referred to as Executor or Administrator and is the fiduciary put in charge of settling the decedent’s estate. If there is a Last Will, the probate judge will typically appoint the Personal Representative named in the will as the Executor, unless the will is contested or the representative does not qualify on legal grounds, such as being convicted of a felony. If a Personal Representative is not named, the judge will appoint one based on specific guidelines established within each state.

 

Inventory of Documents and Assets

Individuals should locate their state requirements for inventory of assets, but in general the decedent’s estate planning documents such as the Last Will and Testament, funeral instructions and living trust, should be organized for the estate attorney. In most cases, set aside three years of tax returns and locate a 3 month inventory of all personal account statements, such as checking, savings, cd’s, retirement accounts and brokerage accounts. Stock and bond certificates are required, as well as life insurance policies  and the beneficiary designations for payable on death accounts such as insurance and IRAs, real estate deeds,  titles for automobiles and other recreational vehicles, corporate records, household and utility bills, medical bill and funeral bills.  The Executor must also try and identify all creditors and outstanding debts. A list should be made of what the decedent owned as well as what they owed

Valuation

The next step is determining the value of the estate at the time of death.  For all items listed on the inventory, this is typically the fair market value of the asset at the time of death. Bank and retirement accounts are listed per the most recent statements.  Real estate may be listed at its value as assessed for real estate taxes. For other property, fair market value is normally “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller in the retail market.” Appraisals are often required and the cost of appraisal or advice of accountant in these matters is usually allowable as an administrative cost of the estate.

Publishing Notices

Again, refer to local requirements, but in most cases the Executor will send out formal written notices of the probate to heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors and then provide proof that such notices were sent.

Paying Bills and Taxes

An account is typically set up for the estate and used to pay estate management expenses and pay the decedent’s outstanding debts. Careful records of all transactions must be kept. Typically, Estate taxes must be filed within a specific time frame and it is advisable to seek the experience of an estate tax attorney or CPA, who can help determine state and federal liability

Distributions

After all else is done,  the executor will distribute the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the  Last Will, or if there was no will, according to decedent’s heirs at law. The estate is closed by filing a “final accounting” with the court. The Executor also files a “closing statement,” that indicates all taxes and debts have also been paid and all property distributed.

©Caring Transitions 2015. Not for reprint without permission.

 

 

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