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Estate matters

It is amazing how many roles we have to play in life with absolutely no formal training. Like being a parent, for example. How many parents ever took a course in parenting? Most of our parenting training is informal. We remember how our parents raised us, we ask them (and other parents) for advice sometimes, and we might read parenting books or magazines.

But for the last six months, I have been playing a role for which I received absolutely NO training, formal or otherwise. I am executor of my mother's estate. I have to see that bills charged to her are paid, arrange for appraisal and auctioning of her possessions, and maintain her house until the estate is dissolved. How am I supposed to know how to do that? Oh, yes, there are professionals that are supposed to help. I send bills to my mom's lawyer to be paid. He has paid some, but not all of them. There are late fees on a bill for fuel oil and we missed getting a discount on real estate taxes because he didn't pay by that deadline like I asked him to. What am I supposed to do when the lawyer isn't doing his job? He was also supposed to arrange for the appraisal with an auctioneer. He said he left messages three times but they never called him back. So I took this upon myself, and after some struggles, I finally got the auctioneer to do the appraisal.

This weekend my brother came up to talk about what kinds of repairs need to be done to the house and to help do some of those repairs. That was a blessing. We sized up the situation on Saturday and worked like dogs today. I am weary and sore but feel somewhat satisfied. There is so much to do. I need to hire painters for the chipping paint on the outside of the house and the dingy walls on the inside. A valve has been leaking over the furnace, so I need to have a plumber come out. Some shingles have blown off and need to be replaced by a professional roofer. My step-father's swivel chair has chewed up the linoleum in one room, so the linoleum in the entire room will have to be replaced by a professional installer. Then there's a bunch of stuff I will be doing such as replacing two storm doors and sanding and revarnishing in several places in the house. This is going to be some summer.