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Legal stuff

Had to deal with a bunch of issues related to my mother's estate over the weekend. My brother, Jim, is buying the house (settlement is November 16th), and we have to resolve some things before then. One of them is dividing up our mom's personal property. Saturday night was the time to do that. We went back and forth, picking items of either sentimental or practical value. There's still a lot of stuff that we have to put up for auction. Oh joy, joy. And Jim and I still need to go through the house to decide what personal effects not on the official property list to keep and what to throw away. More joy. Beer got us through Saturday evening; we might need something stronger to finish the job.

On Sunday we all met at the estate lawyer's office. Jim and Jayne signed for the special bequest checks from my mom to Jayne and their son, Tim. We talked about the timing and details of the sale of the house and the auction. Finally, the lawyer raised the issue of paying me for my my work as executor out of the estate. Talk about uncomfortable moments. Every dime paid to me is a dime taken out of Jim's inheritance. The lawyer pointed out that 5% of the estate is typical payment for executors in our county. Jim thought this was pretty steep. We finally settled on a figure that was about 3.5%. Man, do I hate fussing over money.

Today I had to call people to find someone to fix the leaking around the chimney of my mom's house. One more expense out of the estate to improve the house that my brother is going to own. We already spent $5,000 on a new roof, over $1,000 on a new electric garage door, and $1,800 for furnace repairs. We had a buyer who would have paid full asking price basically as is when suddenly Jim says he wants the house and outbids the potential buyer by a dollar. If he would have revealed his interest in buying the house at its estimated value before we put it on the market, we could have saved over $30,000 in real estate commission fees. I am also giving him a five-year $50,000 mortgage at a fixed 3.5 percent to reduce his mortgage burden. For all of these things plus all the work I have done as executor, I think that the executor payment is hardly out of line, especially when half of that amount is actually coming out of my half of the inheritance anyway.

Man, do I hate fussing over money.