Children of the Elders
Robert D. - Chagrin Falls, OH and Bratislava, Slovakia
“I can't say enough how pleased I've been with Operation Relo's handling of my moving and shipping project, especially considering how unique and complicated the project was. It initially involved moving my mother's household [locally] … but then, because of the Pandemic and my mother's sudden death, it became an international shipping project -- I live in Europe [and could not come back to the US]....
I asked Operation Relo to dispose of my mother's possessions through sales and donations to charities, including the selling of my mother's car. On top of this, I gave them a very long list of items I wished them to ship to me in Europe. The possessions were sold and donated, the car was sold, and all the items on my list were shipped to me [in several waves]. Everything arrived in sound shape, packaged with real care.
I've never [physically] met Brian, Joe or the other members of the team, but I feel like I got to know them well over the months. And throughout all this was the unspoken trust factor. The only way I could make payments to Operation Relo was to have them use my mother's credit card [which was uncovered during the Discovery process in her apartment]. It was only several months after the project had completed that I was able to view the credit card statements and see that all was above-board. I wasn't surprised at all by this, of course, because I had felt a strong ethical sense from Brian and the others throughout our many contacts.
They came through with flying colors”
Others We Help
Real Estate Agents
We'll Get You Through This!
5 Steps to Your Family's Next Happy Place
We get families from points A to B, where A is often a tangled predicament, and B is the next normal, where the family is back in an equilibrium, and the family members can resume living their lives comfortably and predictably.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU NEED
It starts with a short, friendly phone call so that we can get a general lay of the land. What is your situation? What are you trying to accomplish? What problems do you want to address?
We then schedule some time to walk through the house to give us a better understanding of what’s important to you. We get a ballpark assessment market value of the possessions, and a general estimate of the home’s net worth. We do a high level a safety check, especially if the elder wants to stay in the home.
Then we seek to understand the family situation. Who will be most involved? That could be a child, executor, the elder herself, or a family designate. If possible we’d also like to make contact with a trusted family lawyer or doctor to introduce ourselves and explain what we will be doing for you. We want to work collaboratively and transparently while we put together an effective transition plan. This works best when the people you most trust are informed.
GET A PLAN, CUSTOMED FOR YOU
The key to every successful transition is to have a good plan, which lays out how the family will achieve its goals within a realistic timeframe so life can go on with some level of predictability. The plan will minimally consider
a) Living arrangements,
b) How the possessions will be handled,
c) What should be done with the home.
The plan will also address the financial situation of the family. Sometimes people have anticipated this day and can fund the projects out of savings. Other times, we find ourselves working with probate attorneys. Quite often the family doesn’t have money readily available, but they have a lot of equity in the home itself. We can work with you with our escrow financing program. We even have programs for people facing foreclosure when the numbers just don’t add up. We can be the icebreaker that works through the seemingly impossible.
SUITABLE LIVING ARRANGEMENTS
This isn’t always an issue, when the elder has passed, but we often work with surviving spouses and senior couples looking for a graceful transition into elderhood. One of the first issues we discuss is where they want to live. Often people in this situation never thought they would need to change how they’re living, but as we age, our environment needs to account for the realities of elderhood. At a minimum, the house needs to be upgraded for senior safety. Often the elder will need daily help which may be best delivered in assisted living.
There are many options including aging in place, downsizing to a ranch, condo. Assisted living facilities are popping up in almost every community to accommodate increased demand. The family may also consider having mom move in with one of the kids or perhaps buying a larger home where the larger family can all live together.
The more time we have, the more flexible the options will be for the family to accommodate the lifestyle choices, the available finances, and the health outlooks for all involved.
POSSESSIONS: SELL, STORE, DONATE, OR DISPOSE
This is usually one of the biggest challenges for the family. In the course of a lifetime, most everyone accumulates a large stockpile of possessions which must be placed elsewhere for the elder to live comfortably. And the disposition process can be tough, both emotionally and financially.
Items with market value should be sold or donated. For the more valuable items, we conduct estate/tag sales, auctions, or consignment. We also move items to the homes of friend and family as well as churches and charities.
Those items with special sentimental value should stay with the elder and their family members if possible. It’s often heart-breaking when you find out the marketplace doesn’t value the memories associated with item you’re selling. Two other options for what’s left: storage or disposal.
Life offers no true guarantees, but we can assure you that once we get through this step, we have always seen visible relief. The burden of junk will lifted from your shoulders, you will be able to think more clearly again. You will enjoy life a bit more. You may even break out in a big grin.
PREP THE HOME FOR SALE … OR SAFETY
Whether you plan to age in place or downsize, you will need to make adjustments for the new lifestyle that comes with elderhood. That usually involves selling the house or modifying it to be safer. If you’re selling the house, smart repairs and upgrades will attract better offers faster. We have found a fresh coat of paint, landscaping or new carpeting often cost a fraction of what they are worth in increased resale value. We provide advice, but often we are correcting code violations cited by home inspectors, and we’re always happy to work with real estate agents who usually know exactly what their market will pay for.
If your choice is to age in place, the house needs to be safe and comfortable. We have a detailed checklist that rates a house elder safety which considers the need for grab bars, ramps, plumbing and lighting improvements.
At the end of all that work, we clean the house and stage it for sale, so you can get top dollar.
This can all come together in 5 steps to get you through the transition to a comfortable, safe and stable place, so you can enjoy every precious moment.