mother and daughter downsize and declutter

Downsize and Declutter Now to Leave a Better Family Legacy

It can be tough to downsize and declutter.But if you don’t, you risk leaving your family a legacy that can damage their…

nursing-home-sex

Ask Pete: How Do I Stop Dad Having Nursing Home Sex?

My father is in a nursing home community (my mother died many years ago). I just learned that he has had multiple…

how long to keep records

How Long to Keep Credit Card, Medical and Other Records

Downsizers don’t always know how long to keep bulky paper records. Our experts help distinguish between important…

what to do with old photos hard to throw away

How to Purge Old Photos, Uniforms, Trophies and Other Memorabilia

Are you hanging onto old photos out of guilt? Here’s how to streamline your possessions while also respecting the…

final-estate-accounting

What Courts Watch for in the “Final Estate Accounting”

As an estate executor, make sure you carefully track these four items that probate courts want to see documented in the…

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The Quilt That Came Alive: Laura’s Special Project for Grandma

When Laura learned her grandmother was being forced to downsize against her will, she assumed the role of primary…

widow after death of husband

Ask Pete: Lonely Widow Dating After Death of Husband

My husband died recently. Although I'm not interested in starting another relationship, I have been dating here and…

notification-riskiest-probate-court-documents

Notifications: Prepare Family for Probate Court Documents

Notification sets family expectations for the long process ahead. Here are some guidelines for preparing family members…

props-for-dad

Props for Dad: A Daughter Uncovers Hidden War Memories

When a daughter presses her ailing father for his stories of WWII, she discovers that his last memories are deeper and…

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5 Reasons a Year May Not Be Long Enough to Settle an Estate

Most estates close within a year, but yours may not fall into that easy category. Be prepared: Here are 5 reasons it…

dealing-with-older-parents-while-home-for-holidays

Home for the Holidays? How to Check on Older Parents

Holiday visits can be stressful if you notice your older parents declining quickly. Here are the 3 areas to check if…

out-of-state-executor

Can You Serve as an Out of State Executor?

Probate can be more costly and time consuming for an out-of-state Executor. If you decide to accept (and you don’t…

spending-holidays-alone-after-divorce

Ask Pete: Spending the Holidays Alone After Divorce

My ex-husband will be taking our two young children out of town for the holidays this year. I can’t imagine spending…

types-of-appraisals-you-need

Dad’s Stamp Collection: Types of Certified Appraisals You Need

Different collectibles require different types of appraisals. Hire a professional to learn if they have hidden value,…

probate-executor-misconduct

Executor Misconduct: 4 Ways to Break Probate Law 

Bill lost everything after he was sued for executor misconduct. Here are the 4 probate laws executors can’t break, and…

make-special-holidays-for-elderly-grandma

Ask Pete: Making Holidays Special for Elderly Grandmother

My grandmother is in a nursing home and can’t host dinner for family this year. How can we make the holidays for my…

sister-holiday-anxiety

Ask Pete: What to Do About Sister Causing Holiday Anxiety

Q: When my sister visits, she’s full of advice on what our elderly father needs or doesn’t need. I’m sick of dreading…

distribution of estate assets is like small business

Why Estate Executors Should Think Like Small-Business Owners

Distribution of estate assets takes logistical and emotional skills. Here are some key takeaways from small businesses…

asset distribution

Know Who Gets What and When: Asset Distribution for Estates

Got a relative who’s demanding their fair share of an estate? Don’t be pressured into handing out anything too early.…

parents getting old

Ask Pete: Start a Reality Check with Aging Parents

Q: My parents are getting old. My brothers and I want to talk to them over the holidays about a plan for how to support…

moving-truck-brother-inheritance

How to Keep Your Brother from Stealing Your Inheritance

Raiding a loved one's house the day of the funeral is more common than you may think. Here’s how to secure and protect…

what-to-do-with-trash_items

How to Wrangle the Ton of Trash Items in Your House

No exaggeration – we find that the average-sized house has one ton of trash. From old electronics to used box springs…

probate-family-dynamics-inheritance

Family Inheritance Fights: How to Defuse 3 Common Probate Flashpoints

Family dynamics can be a challenge on a normal day. But after a death, executors are often faced with family fights…

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Probate 101: What It Is, and Why You Need It

Scheming heirs and financial predators can swarm to take advantage of families after a recent death. That’s why we have…

man with survivor’s guilt

Ask Pete: How Can I Let Go of Survivor’s Guilt Over This Death?

My brother was killed in a car accident and I survived. I feel like if I had said or done something differently, he…

3 Steps for Quick Pre-Holiday Downsizing and De-Cluttering

Whether you tackle just one room or an entire house, you can reap the benefits of downsizing before the holidays hit.…

my husband died. Older couple holding hands

Ask Pete: Why Can’t I Kiss a Man After My Husband Died?

I haven’t been with anyone since my husband died. I recently started a relationship and got to that romantic moment,…

cant-afford-funeral-older-couple-bills

4 Tips for Estate Executors Who Can’t Afford a Funeral

What happens when you can’t afford a funeral? Checking for these 4 options can keep estate executors from being…

What's a beneficiary? Two men discuss probate

Know the Difference Between an Heir and a Beneficiary

What's a beneficiary? In terms of inheritances, heirs may be surprised to be set aside by beneficiaries. Here’s what…

box of probate paperwork

Probate Paperwork: Where to Find Critical Estate Documents

After a death, gather important estate documents quickly. Here’s what probate paperwork to look for, and where it’s…

does-executor-follow-will

3 Big Mistakes Executors Make Even When Following the Will

Even when estate executors follow the will, they can get tripped up. Here are three of the most common mistakes we’ve…

box of personal items to clean out

How to Clean Out a House Quickly with the Four Pile Sort Method

Even small houses can take several weeks to downsize or empty. Cleaning expert Matt Paxton explains how to clean out…

mom with dementia drawing

Dementia: How Can You Help Protect Mom’s Independence?

When should an adult child take over a parent’s decision-making? If Mom or other family member is showing signs of…

Why You May Not Want to Be an Estate Executor After a Death

What many don’t realize is you can say “no” to the responsibility of being an estate executor after a death. Here are 5…

people discussing probate issues

3 Times You Need a Probate Attorney (and When You Don’t)

An experienced probate expert can handle most probate issues at half the price of an attorney. When should you lawyer…

Six candles with four blown out

Ask Pete: How Do I Celebrate a Birthday Marred by Grief?

My mother-in-law passed away this summer after a brief illness. She died on my wife’s birthday. I fear that day will…

6 Tips for Helping Seniors Manage Medication

Medication management issues are a top driver for seniors being placed in nursing homes. Here are 6 ways to make…

Person in bed holding hands with a loved one.

Q&A: Talking “Good Death” with an End-of-Life Doula

As a Death Doula, Shelby Krillen helps families create meaningful end-of-life transitions. She talks with Legacy…

headstone for atheist or christian funeral

Ask Pete: Do I Plan a Christian or Atheist Funeral?

My mother was a cradle-to-grave Episcopalian, but I’m atheist. How do I honor her in a way that feels right to me? Who…

Working with Matt Paxton, and Why This Job Isn’t About Moving Boxes

What’s it like working alongside Matt Paxton from TV’s HOARDERS? Legacy Navigator team member John Tracy shares what he…

man trying to get into a locked computer

Hacking Mom’s Contact List: Tips for Getting into a Locked Computer

When a relative dies, estate executors may not have access to the digital passwords. Here’s what you need to know about…

Large amount of media cameras

Ask Pete: Should I Talk to the News Media After This Death?

A family in our community was murdered, and the media has been swarming. The stories have a lot of errors, should I…

Person unlocking silver padlock with key

Good Luck Getting into the Storage Unit After Someone Dies

Did your deceased family member have a self-storage unit full of valuables? Here’s what you need to know about how to…

Courthouse columns at probate court

Important Probate Terms Translated into Plain English

Are you responsible for administering an estate as an executor or administrator? Keep our vocabulary list handy so you…

flower arrangement with condolences card

Ask Pete: How Do I Offer My Condolences But Set Limits?

I don’t know what to say to offer condolences to a mother whose sons died under tragic circumstances. How can I put…

Helping Your Parents with Downsizing Their Possessions

If you're an adult child or caregiver of a senior who has decided to downsize, here are five strategies you can employ…

Three aging leaves in a row

Mom, We Need to Talk: How to Communicate with Parents About Aging

Having “The Talk” with elderly parents is one we may dread, but shouldn’t avoid. Here are our tips for how to talk to…

Stack of newspaper illustrates levels of hoarding

Matt Paxton’s Guide for Recognizing the 5 Levels of Hoarding

Think you have a hoarder in the family? Matt Paxton shares his “5 levels of hoarding” guide for evaluating the severity…

Senior Downsizing Tips: When to Push, When to Let the Clutter Be

Our senior downsizing tips will help you start the conversation, manage your expectations and emotions, and avoid…

Take steps to reclaim lost assets

How to Reclaim Your Family’s Lost Cash and Other Assets

Are you overlooking accounts and refunds from a deceased relative? Follow our guide to find out where to search and how…

Helping with moving parents into assisted living

Downsizing in a Hurry: How to Move Parents into Assisted Living

When an elderly person’s health worsens, adult children often must help with moving parents into assisted living. Here…

prayer doesn’t help me

Ask Pete: I’m Still Grieving, Why Doesn’t Prayer Work for Me?

What is praying actually supposed to do for my grief? I turned to my faith in my time of need, and I’m trying, but…

Three best collectibles Hummel figurines

Why Your Best Collectibles Are Probably Worth Less Than You Think 

From Barbies to baseball cards, market value for collectibles is determined by supply and demand. What are your best…

plastic bags saved by hoarder parents

Matt Paxton’s Tips for Dealing with Parents Who Hoard

Matt knows a lot about dealing with hoarder parents, but not all cluttered houses are hoards. Here are four key tips…

suit jackets to donate

4 Ways to Make Sure Donated Clothes Don’t End Up in Landfill

Donated clothing may end up doing less good than you think. If you have old clothes to donate, follow these tips to…

volunteers cleaning out parents house

Managing Family Volunteers When Cleaning Out Parents’ House

Family members often volunteer for cleaning out a parent's house, but beware the risks. Try our 12 tips to keep this…

Antique inherited car

Inherited a Classic Car? How to Decide Whether to Keep or Sell

You want to keep Dad’s two-tone 1955 Chevy Bel Air, but do you know the costs? Use our calculator to decide whether to…

Outdoor security camera

New Technology Helps Long Distance Care for Aging Parents

For the 7 million adults caring for aging parents long distance, a small issue can quickly become a crisis. New…

Wall of cremation urns

Ask Pete: Husband and In-Laws Can’t Agree, Cremation or Burial?

Q: My brother's wife died recently without a will. He wanted to cremate her remains, but her parents are against it.…

sad girl father killed her mother

Ask Pete: Can I “Recover” When My Father Killed My Mother?

Q: My father shot and killed my mother and then himself when I was 7. Now, 15 years later I’m still struggling. Therapy…

Two men clear out a house after someone dies.

Finding the Right Volunteers to Help Clear Out a House

Family members aren’t always able, or willing, to help clear out a house after someone dies. Here are five options for…

Cleaning leaves during home maintenance schedule

Home Maintenance Schedule for Monitoring Remote Houses

When a house is empty, or the homeowner is aging, minor problems can escalate quickly. Use our seasonal checklist to…

Polaroid photographs in an album

Uncovering Secrets in Families, and How to Clean Them Up

Love letters, suitcases full of cash, and other children? Here are 6 secrets in families we commonly discover in estate…

car keys for inherited car after death

How to Find and Process an Estate Car Title After a Death 

Almost every estate has an estate car. But that asset is worthless if you don’t follow these steps to secure a car…

love letters Dad had an affair

Ask Pete: My Dad Had an Affair, Do I Tell Mom?

Q: Going through my dad’s closet after his death, I found a box of love letters from another woman – and a photo of a…

second hand workshop equipment

How to Sell or Donate Second-Hand Workshop Equipment

Selling a garage full of Grandpa’s workshop tools and supplies? Here’s how to sell that specialty equipment, and why…

Two open paint cans hazardous waste

Hazardous Waste Management Plan for Guns, Drugs and 5 Other Dangers

Guns, dead animals, fireworks and 5 other highly dangerous items you might find while cleaning out a house, with a…

Bottles of wine for alcoholic parent

Ask Pete: Ok To Be Happy About the Death of Alcoholic Parent?

My abusive, alcoholic mother died recently. When people say they’re sorry, I just want to tell them how much better my…

daughter visiting Father with dementia

Ask Pete: Father with Dementia Keeps Bringing Up My Divorce

My husband recently left me, and my father with dementia always asks where Bob is. It’s very upsetting for me to keep…

variety of workshop gears

Is There Gold in Your Workshop Cleanout?

A workshop cleanout can uncover significant value, even if it looks like a messy headache to empty out. We help you…

woman dancing caregiver dealing with burnout

Work It Out and 6 Other Tips for How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

Every day, our field service team members help families cope with traumatic events. Here are their strategies for how…

workshop full of second hand tools

Second-Hand Workshop Tools: What You Should Keep and Why 

Grandpa’s garage is full of second-hand workshop tools. Use our guide to decide what’s worth keeping, and what has…

Man removing ring

Ask Pete: What If In-Laws Object to Me Dating After Death of Wife?

My wife died a few months ago. I've started dating, but my in-laws object. What do I do when my in-laws don’t want me…

elderly woman holding tiny house with for reverse mortgage concept

Is a Reverse Mortgage a Good Idea for Seniors?

Is a reverse mortgage a good idea for seniors? A few years ago we would have said no way, but here's how reverse…

long-distance caregiving tips for this ranch house

Long-Distance Caregiving Tips for the House

Long-distance caregiving tips often exclude the house, but a neglected house loses value. Our tips for keeping up with…

storage unit rented after self storage cost estimator

Quick Quiz: Are Self-Storage Costs Worth It?

Before you roll up the door on your own locker, answer these key questions for our self storage cost estimator to save…

How to take car keys away from elderly parent who is driving

Ask Pete: How Can I Take the Car Keys Away from an Elderly Parent?

Q: I don’t think my 86-year-old father is a safe driver anymore. How can I take the car keys away from an elderly…

Official documents for executor duties after death

Top 10 Things to Know About Executor Duties After a Death

Don't take the responsibilities of being an executor lightly. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about…

tissue box for myths about grief

4 Common Myths About Reactions to Grief

In which we debunk "the five stages of grief" and three other myths about reactions to grief. Truth is more complex…

ribbon for how to mourn a death

Back to Black: How to Mourn a Death

A formal mourning period can be a powerful way to help us learn how to mourn a death, and to support families during…

distressed house owner can't afford home repairs

Can’t Afford Home Repairs? Don’t Sell As Is

If you can't afford home repairs, it's tempting to sell the house as is. Don't! Here's why giving it a good cleaning…

person paying parent credit card debt after death

Credit Card Debt After Death: Should You Pay It?

For an insolvent estate, credit card debt after death is usually the last bill that should be paid. Why? Because of…

managing debt after someone dies

How to Manage Debt After Someone Dies

Creditors calling? We walk you through a three-part process for how to manage debt after someone dies, and how to…

donation box for what to throw away

The 3 Most-Donated Items That Should Be Thrown Away

Not sure what to donate and what to throw away? These are the three most commonly donated items that thrift shops don't…

boots for cleaning out elderly parents house

Tools of the Trade: Supplies for Cleaning Out an Elderly Parent’s House

Cleaning out an elderly parent’s house? Estimate the scope of the work, then make sure you have all the right supplies.…

coffin for funerals so expensive

Why Are Funerals So Expensive?
4 Ways to Cut Costs

The average funeral costs over $7000, but you don't have to pay that much. Here are four ways to create a meaningful…

green burials as alternatives to embalming

Green Burials:
Earth-Friendly Alternatives to Embalming

The business of “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” isn't very environmentally friendly. Explore these green alternatives…

Foreclosure notice for missing mortgage payments after death

Feeling the Pressure? Pushing Back on Reverse Mortgage Payments After Death

Being hounded by collections? If your estate owes reverse mortgage payments after a death, don't panic! You have…

Downfall of a reverse mortgage

Reverse Mortgages in Simple Terms: The Benefits and Pitfalls

If you or your parents are considering a reverse mortgage, here is what you need to know about the benefits and…

woman on laptop closing facebook account for someone who died

No More Facebook Ghosts: Closing a Facebook Account for Someone Who Died

Explore the two options for closing a Facebook account for someone who died: memorializing the page or deleting it…

envelope of cash for funding home improvements

4 Sources for Funding Home Improvements

Key repairs can easily run between $10,000 and $20,000, which is a significant financial burden. Here are 4 ways that…

roof repair selling house expenses

These 3 House-Selling Expenses Are Worth Paying

An attractive property that is in good shape will sell faster and at a higher price than one that needs work, but not…

sold sign to get house sold quickly

The Cost of Waiting: 7 Reasons to Get the House Sold Quickly

Once you decide to sell a house, turn it as quickly as possible. Every month a house doesn’t sell, owners must pay…

paying for storage unit

Ask Pete: When Do We Stop Paying for Storage?

Q: My husband's father died over a year ago, and we still have his things in storage. I keep pushing to get rid of them…

Managing elderly parents finances

Managing Elderly Parents’ Finances? 6 Questions to Ask

More adult children are finding themselves in a position of managing elderly parents’ finances. Here are the six…

woman using facebook after someone dies

Ask Pete: Using Their Facebook After Someone Dies?

Q: My friend Jay died last year, and his wife is still using his Facebook account. It’s creepy to see Jay “liking” or…

woman using checklist for a death in the family

Top 10 To Do: Checklist for a Death In the Family

Our checklist for a death in the family will get you started with the 10 most important things you should focus on.

drama masks illustrate both sides of dealing with grief

Dealing With Grief: It’s All Good

One misunderstanding about dealing with grief is that "good" means "feels good." Grief feels awful, but you can't fully…

house staged for a quick sale

7 Tips: How to Stage Your House for a Quick Sale

A staged house sells twice as fast and for more money. Here are our top seven tips for staging a house for sale.

antique sofa at sale of estate property

What Will Sell at Auction? Not Your Parents’ Furniture.

If you are emptying a house full of family belongings, the hard truth is that everything is only worth what someone…

image showing what is a death certificate

Why 20 Death Certificates Aren’t Enough

Without a death certificate, many institutions won't even talk to you. Here's who will need one, and why 20 copies may…

golden lab on leash condolences after a dog dies

Ask Pete: Weird to Offer Condolences After a Dog Dies?

Q: My neighbor's dog died and I wanted to express my sympathy. Is it weird to send pet sympathy cards? What should I…

silverware set how to settle an estate with siblings

5 Methods for How to Settle an Estate With Siblings

The best way to keep peace in the family is to come up with an objective way to divide up a house's contents fairly.…

broken vase risks of cleaning out an estate

Caution: 4 Risks of Cleaning Out an Estate

As part of our DIY estate settlement series we take a careful look here at the top four legal liabilities and risks of…

woman offering caregiver support

Ask Pete: How to Care For a Caregiver?

Q: I wanted to drop off a meal for a caregiver, but she said never mind. Would it be rude to just drop off the meal…

What To Do At a Wake, Viewing or Visitation

What exactly do you do at a wake, viewing or visitation? Who goes to a wake versus a funeral, and what will happen?

seesaw shows cash versus house value

Cash Poor? How to Unlock Your House Value

The average American over age 65 has about $800 in the bank. Many seniors are "cash poor” with 85% of their net worth…

tug of war dad's shirt

Ask Pete: Help! Everyone Is Asking for Dad’s Stuff.

Q: My father recently died, and friends and family members have come by the house to ask for things that they say are…

woman calculates cost of selling a house

5 Hidden Costs of Estate Cleanouts

Doing an estate cleanout yourself could save you, and the estate, money. But make sure you calculate the full expense…

coffin at graveside service

Burials: What to Expect at a Graveside Service

A burial tends to be the most intimate (and often the most emotional) ceremony associated with death. Here is what to…

terminally ill friend

Ask Pete: Can I Call a Loan from a Terminally Ill Friend?

Q: I loaned some high-end video equipment to terminally ill friend. She was given three months to live and wanted to…

how to have an estate sale

Pro Checklist: How to Have an Estate Sale

After all of the beneficiaries have divided up an estate’s key assets, chances are you’re still going to be dealing…

5 Reasons Pete Says “Death” Instead of “Loss”

In conversation with family, friends and clients, I prefer to say “died” instead of "passed" or "lost." It may sound…

yellow balloons at memorial service

What to Expect at a Memorial Service

A memorial service is often more relaxed than a funeral, with fewer “rules.” Even though each service is likely to be…

house to clean out after death

5 Steps for How to Clean Out Houses After a Death

To make the most of your time and volunteers, plan carefully to keep a house cleanout project on track. Here are the…

girl taking funeral selfie

Ask Pete: How to React to a Funeral Selfie?

Q: A good friend took a selfie with her deceased father, then shared it with us at a bar later. How should I respond…

How to Recognize Valuable Stocks and Bonds

Younger generations sorting through estate paperwork don't always recognize these valuable papers. How to identify…

Funerals Today: What to Wear, What to Say, What to Do

What do you wear to a funeral? What do you say to the family?  Where do you sit? And what happens if you cry?

Ask Pete: How Do I Convince My Aging Parents to Move Closer?

Q: My aging parents live in a retirement community three states away from me. They've been having significant health…

books are secret hiding places for money

Top 10 Secret Hiding Places for Money

Forget about under the mattress. What about inside the water tank on the back of your parents’ toilet? Here are the Top…

microscope with tissue from body donated to science

Ask Pete: What Are the Funeral Rites for a Body Donated to Science?

Q: My mother chose to donate her body to science. When I get the ashes (which could be 18 months from now), she will be…

You Are Selling a House, Not a Home

Is it a house or a home? We've seen the wrong word choice play out in families who ended up not getting the best value…

Ask Pete: Can I Just Drop Off a Casserole, or Do I Have to Stay and Talk?

Q: I signed up to bring a dinner to a family in my community who had a recent death. Can I just drop it off, or would…

The Risks of a Vacant House – You May Not Be Covered

With every day that a house is left unoccupied, your potential risk grows. Unoccupied or vacant houses can create…

Ask Pete: What To Do When My Father Died and I Hated Him?

Q: My father, who I haven’t seen in 35 years, has died. My brother wants me to go to the funeral, and there will be…

Ask Pete: Should I Go to My Ex-Husband’s Funeral?

Q: Should I go to my ex-husband’s funeral with our daughter? Or should I check to see if there is someone more neutral…

Going Once, Going Twice: Selling Houses at Auction

In our work managing estate transitions, we are finding that selling houses at auction may have some distinct…

Ask Pete: How Do I Manage an Employee Returning to Work After Bereavement?

Q: My research assistant’s husband died suddenly. I'm not sure what to say to her when she comes back to work, or how…