Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Review - The Boomer Burden by Julie Hall
The Boomer Burden: Dealing with your Parents' Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff by Julie Hall
Synopsis from publisher:
With fascinating stories and comprehensive checklists, professional estate liquidator Julie Hall walks Baby Boomers through the often painful challenge of dividing the wealth and property of their parents' lifetime accumulation of stuff. From preparation while the parent is still living through compassionately helping them empty the family home, The Estate Lady® gives invaluable tips on negotiating the inevitable disputes, avoiding exploitation from scam artists, and eventually closing the chapter of their lives in a way that preserves relationships and maximizes value of assets.
Since both of my parents are starting to think about what to do with THEIR parents' stuff, this book seemed highly appropriate. It's written in a conversational style, making it a quick and easy read, with highlighted boxes and checklists scattered throughout to make sure readers catch the most important information. Much of what was in the book seemed like common sense to me - have a will, don't fight over possessions, try to encourage your parents to dispose of things before they die, etc. - but I know that common sense advice is often easier said than done, so seeing it explained step-by-step is probably helpful.
It was shocking to me to read Hall's stories of families splintering into fights and lawsuits over who gets what, but I'm sure it does happen. I can't imagine that happening in either my mom's or dad's families, and I'm pretty sure it won't happen between myself and my siblings either - I guess I just can't imagine stuff being that important. However, I'm sure most families think that right before the lawsuits start, so Hall's tips on how to divide things equally, to avoid conflict and hurt feelings, make sense in the context of what she's seen.
The section I felt most helpful personally was her extremely logical method of clearing out a house. Starting in the attic and working down, Hall gives method and advice on how to best clear out each room, and it really made a lot of sense. I think that is the thought that is the most daunting to me, and I appreciate this reference from someone who has obviously done the job many times before.
I think for a lot of people this will be an extremely helpful book. I felt that I already had a basic understanding of much of the information, but her specific tips on the hows and whys will potentially be very useful. I think this would be a great tool for anyone who is contemplating the liquidation of an estate - its a quick read, but the information is practical and will probably save a great deal of time and stress.
Source: the author