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  • After I'm Gone

    I was prompted to write this after reading another post, Tough Job Today, and I didn't want to hijack that timely post.

    My brother-in-law died last November from a really fast moving melanoma. He was a cattle farmer and had a couple of hundred head of cattle, three tractors and the associated hay making implements required of the successful farmer. Since his death his widow has been beseiged by 'friends' who have assured her that, "Pete had agreed to sell me that Case tractor for $3500.00". Or, "I had an agreement to buy that Hereford bull for $1500.00". Or other assurances of that nature to help out the grieving widow.

    Some of these neighbors were sincere and really wanted to help but the whole thing made me wonder about my shop tools and what would happen if I were suddenly go away --- and it can happen.

    I think it is a supreme arrogance to try to control our possessions after we are gone and I have no desire to do that. But I don't want for some smooth talking jerk to come here and think that he can equip his shop with my stuff at my wife's expense so here is what I am doing.

    I am making a list of all my tools including a brief history of how and where I got it and what I paid for it. I am not including every #7 drill bit but it is going to be a fairly complete list when I finish. I am including in this document recommendations about whose counsel to seek, about potential auctioneers, likely interested and fair parties and so forth.

    For this to be useful I will have to update it about every three months or so and I can do that.

    Is this a good thing to do? Will it be helpful if needed? I don't know but it makes me feel better to know she will have at least some basic information.

    This whole discussion is likely a moot point anyway because I plan to live forever. I have too many projects going not to.

  • #2
    Keeping such an inventory is clearly a good thing to do. Not thinking about "final disposal," imagine how useful it would be for an insurance claim after a devastating fire or other disaster.
    Cheers,

    Frank Ford
    HomeShopTech

    Comment


    • #3
      Randolph
      Your experience is not unique. When we lost my father, my brother and I had pretty much been running the company behind the scenes and knew what was going on on a daily basis. Dad was known to wheel and deal, but he kept us in his personal loop so we knew what he had happening.

      We too saw the vultures descend and try to pick clean the carcass of what the figured was a newly dead business.

      The thing we witnessed in near amazement was WHO the few vultures were. To a man they were the people we had always trusted to deal honestly and with integrity. What really surprised us was not these guys.

      What blew us away were the shaky sisters and those who always seemed a bit "marginal". I'm talking about the guys who were slow pay, or sometimes "no pay" . Nearly every one of these guys stood up and sent payment on debts that were often behind. One, who we suspected had stolen some equipment, even contacted us via a proxy and told us where the missing machines were.

      By and large, we discovered a lot about those with whom we did business and the results surprised us. Some of it was prettybad, but mostly it affirmed our faith in human kind.

      Steve

      Comment


      • #4
        Good idea, and you should probably keep the inventory somewhere other than your house, just in case of fire or other calamity.

        One of the reasons I am helping my sister in law out (Tough job today) is that I don't want someone else taking advantage of her - not that anyone has tried but you never know.

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        • #5
          I think that's a very wise idea. I've seen/heard of a lot of widows selling valuable stuff for peanuts because they had no clue of the value.
          I have tools I don't even know I own...

          Comment


          • #6
            You need to name a trusted friend as the caretaker of the disposal. He'll take care of your stuff when you don't need it.

            Comment


            • #7
              A few months ago, my father (age 69) is driving somewhere with the nephew/grandson, who is far too wise for his age of 6.5. He says, more or less out of the blue,

              "Pop-pop, when you die, I get to have all your tools, right?"

              "Well, I think your uncle Colin might want some of them too."

              "OK, but I get all the good ones, right?"

              Father's still in good health mostly, beat a couple of lesser cancers (kidney and prostate), no other glaring problems, but I'll admit I twitch a bit every time I get a call from his wife (who I like, but she rarely calls me). He's got a very good woodworking shop and his wife would be hopeless at disposing of it. Metalworking machinery is even more challenging... there's a reason estate sales often yield too-good deals.

              Comment


              • #8
                not to put myself away before my time, I told my daughters just to sell my stuff on ebay or give to one of my nephews. The stuff isn't worth what you think and secondly, I have it on god authority, once you're dead you won't give a crap what happens to it.
                Enjoy it while you own it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The kids have picking rights, and my wife has the names of a couple of good auctioneers to dispose of the rest. Trying to inventory and value everything is more than I care to do, and my evaluation will have little to do with the selling price anyway.

                  Value and worth are two very different things. The auction gets rid of everything at once, it will all be gone at the end of the day. Some items will go for less than they might be worth, some more. On the whole it will pretty well average out, and the survivors will not be saddled with the burden of disposing of every last bit & piece.

                  It should be a hell of an auction, I wish I could make it.
                  Jim H.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    William Saroyan said he always knew man was mortal but that he thought an exception would be made in his case.

                    My father-in-law had quite a woodworking workshop, and some of you are right about the vultures. We were saddened by the behavior of a couple of his alleged good friends. Unfortunately, we let all the stuff go and I regret it now. A lot of the stuff was early 1900s carpenter's and cabinet maker's hand tools of a quality that is hard to find today. At the time, his widow was frantic about money and we didn't think to calm her down and get her to wait on selling. (My wife and I were just married and in our early 20s with no experience at this sort of thing.)

                    Something I have been advised to do, and have done, is to write a "letter of instruction" to be opened upon my demise, or imminent demise. It lays out all that I care about, including suggestions on what to do with the stuff. (And the locations of the other important documents, names of family attorney and investment adviser, etc.) In the end, I don't want to saddle my heirs with specific instructions as they will have to deal with circumstances that I cannot anticipate. But I do caution them about being too quick to disperse it all.

                    Be sure to have a will; durable powers of attorney, one for personal affairs and one for health care; and if appropriate, a family trust. We have now been through estate closings for several family members and the money you pay an attorney for this will be well worth it when the time comes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks to the bargaining powers we possess due to the far eastern manufacturers, Value has bottomed out and the items are Worth what we want to pay for them. How many tool gloats would there be if we paid Worth.

                      Regards Ian.
                      You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Morning Guys,
                        When I buy something new, somewhere on the tool I put price paid, date, and vendor. I told wife to sell it at 50%. Buyer will get a deal (as I don't keep any junky or broke tools) and she can recoupe some of her money that I spent.
                        George from Conyers Ga.
                        Remember
                        The early bird gets the worm, BUT it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rustybolt
                          The stuff isn't worth what you think
                          isn't that the truth.

                          I've had a few occasions of estates where the family seems convinced that the stuff is just soooooo valuable and secondly that everyone is out to screw them. With that combination is impossible to either help them or deal with them.

                          I'd rather see my stuff go to some nice keen young person than worry about value....the idea of value is not as simple as it may seem and really what one should be concerned about is the situation we put our loved ones in. For example, that nice Starrett mic you paid $100 for might have to sell for $20 in a tough economy. It might have to sell on kijiji or CL because shipping makes it not worth ebaying, and maybe you're in a small market so you have to price induce a sale. In other words, I don't want my wife thinking that everyone offering less than 100 is a scoundrel trying to take advantage....may she should sell that mic for 15 or maybe even less if its with a bunch of things....kindest thing i can do is make it easy for her.
                          Last edited by Mcgyver; 01-12-2009, 10:34 AM.
                          in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cedge
                            Randolph
                            Your experience is not unique. When we lost my father, my brother and I had pretty much been running the company behind the scenes and knew what was going on on a daily basis. Dad was known to wheel and deal, but he kept us in his personal loop so we knew what he had happening.

                            We too saw the vultures descend and try to pick clean the carcass of what the figured was a newly dead business.

                            The thing we witnessed in near amazement was WHO the few vultures were. To a man they were the people we had always trusted to deal honestly and with integrity. What really surprised us was not these guys.

                            What blew us away were the shaky sisters and those who always seemed a bit "marginal". I'm talking about the guys who were slow pay, or sometimes "no pay" . Nearly every one of these guys stood up and sent payment on debts that were often behind. One, who we suspected had stolen some equipment, even contacted us via a proxy and told us where the missing machines were.

                            By and large, we discovered a lot about those with whom we did business and the results surprised us. Some of it was prettybad, but mostly it affirmed our faith in human kind.

                            Steve
                            I'm surprised to see you here after all the disparaging you've done toward this board, but welcome
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was recently asked to help dispose of a Bridgeport mill, early step speed model and a Myford 254 lathe. The vendor was still alive but not in good health.
                              The Myford had been bought new [ nearly 4K ] and was in good shape and the Bridgeport had been bought from a dealer at the hight of the good times about [ £2500 ]

                              I asked what he valued these at and was told silly figures, I explained that the bottom had fallen out of the market and currently Bridgeport's around here were fetching £900 tops, and the Myford, being an orphan, no longer made and virtually limited spares and virtually no accessories was probably worth £2500 tops.

                              I had made it clear that I wasn't interested in either machine but that I would advertise them and pass people on direct.

                              I was then given a figure of not much less that what they had paid and asked to list that. Needless to say there was no contact and when I told them I got the impression it was my fault.

                              I now refuse to advertise on peoples behalf's, it's not worth the hassle.

                              .
                              .

                              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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