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Anyone who has had difficulty parting with an old worn T-shirt or a favorite pair of ripped blue jeans understands the emotional connections that can be attached to material belongings. Throughout the various stages of life we collect things. Old postcards or knick-knacks from family trips represent special times together. A token gift from a dear friend may reflect years of shared friendship. Many items that we choose to surround ourselves with hold deep personal meaning. The process of selling an estate brings out the feelings associated with these personal attachments, making parting with them an emotional task.
Settling an estate from a loved one can be particularly traumatic if you had a close relationship. Planning an estate sale due to foreclosure or divorce brings with it another set of emotions that can be challenging to handle. These feelings make the estate sale process even more difficult to navigate and manage. It is important to not try and go down this road alone. Seek help and advice from family members and close friends or consult an estate planning professional. Surrounding yourself with a support network will prove invaluable throughout this process.
Understanding that this process will unleash a roller coaster of emotions will help you at the outset so you can anticipate the bumpy road ahead. Grief can be an overwhelming feeling, so be prepared for unexpected bouts of tears or anger and know that these feelings are a normal part of the process. Grief is not limited to those settling the estate of a loved one; divorce and foreclosure also evoke feelings of loss. Selling items from a divorce or a loss of a home is symbolic and forces an element of closure that may be difficult to face.
Selling an estate can bring with it a seemingly unending list of decisions that must be made. Which items should you keep? Which items should be donated? What is the value of these belongings? Give yourself adequate time to make thoughtful, deliberate decisions during this process. Decisions made in haste or during emotional distress are rarely sound decisions and are often the ones we regret the most later on. As much as possible, take your time as you sort through belongings. This will not only help you to use good judgement; it will help you to emotionally come to terms with the closure and finality.
The Maryland estate planning attorneys at Altman & Associates understand estate planning – it is all we do. Our Maryland estate planning legal team has more than 40 years of experience and is the premier estate planning firm in Maryland, Washington D.C, and Northern Virginia. We work side-by-side with you, providing counsel and compassion in navigating the estate sale planning process. With convenient office locations in Columbia and Rockville, contact us by phone at (301) 468-3220 or online to schedule a consultation.