Cover Your Assets

Tips & Guides Newsletter

Published by Semler Appraisals & Estate Liquidations
A Professional Service for the Valuation of Personal Property

Fall, 2004  Vol. 6, No. 1 

Cover Your Assets

Your home contains possessions that have sentimental value as well as monetary worth. In the event of a catastrophe, would you be able to list every single item in your home?

A large part of our appraisal practice involves appraising for insurance claims and moving company damage and loss. We often encounter people who must create an inventory list from memory at a time of extreme stress, such as fire, theft, flood, or other disaster. Lists created under these conditions are seldom accurate or complete.

In the event of a loss, the insured is usually required to show two types of information for a claim to be settled: proof of ownership and proof of value. An appraisal made prior to the loss is acceptable to adjusters for both proof of ownership and value, but most people do not have this documentation, or only have an appraisal on high value items. The next best thing to have is a videotape or photographs of the contents of the home. You can do this yourself or hire a professional.

To be able to make a complete inventory after a loss, have photographs of the contents of all drawers, cupboards and closets. Go room by room and include the garage, attic, and yard. Take wide-view photos of the corners of the room, overall shots of each piece of furniture and close-up details of the furniture including any manufacturers labels or other identifying marks. Capture images of the items hung on the walls, include carpets and rugs and incorporate ceiling fixtures. Don’t forget to include collections, such as stamps, Hummel figurines, and widgets.

These photos can serve as memory-joggers, if necessary.

In addition to pictures, jot down dimensions, known history of the items such as date and place of purchase, unique characteristics of the possessions (is your driver’s license number engraved on them?). Note any damage or repair, and other information that might be helpful in recovering them should they be stolen, and appraised if lost.

After you have gone to this trouble, place the photos and documentation in a secure location away from the home, such as a safe deposit box or fireproof cabinet at work. Update the information on a regular basis. It’s better to have the inventory and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

If you have an appraisal, be advised that according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, the appraiser is required to retain a record of the client files for only five years, or for two years after final disposition of any judicial proceeding in which testimony was given, whichever period expires last. Some appraisers keep all client files indefinitely, but ask your appraiser to be certain. The appraiser’s copy of your appraisal may not be available when you need it.

Whether you engage the services of a professional personal property appraiser, or inventory and photograph your home’s contents on your own, have a plan in place for itemizing your household inventory, and follow that plan.

On the Light Side: Maxims for the Internet Age

Home is where you hang your @.

A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.

You can’t teach an old mouse new tricks.

Speak softly and carry a cellular phone.

C:\ is the Root of all directories.

Don’t put all your hypes in one homepage.

Pentium wise, pen and paper foolish.

The modem is the message.

Too many clicks spoil the browse.

The geek shall inherit the earth.

A chat has nine lives.

Don’t byte off more than you can view.

Fax is stranger than fiction.

What boots up must come down.

Windows will never cease.

Virtual reality is its own reward.

A user and his leisure time are soon parted.

Know what to expect before you connect.

What a tangled website we weave when first we practice html.


Lake Highlands Estate Sale—Preview

Are you on our distribution list for notification of upcoming estate sales? If not, you might want to consider signing up immediately. Our next estate sale is so full that we are sending out email invitations to a special preview. On Friday, October 8, 2004 we’ll open the doors to the neighbors and those on the list for a few hours and sell just to you. The following Friday and Saturday, we’ll open to the public and sell whatever remains. The house contains good quality Victorian furniture, mid-1800s American country furniture and primitives, Flow Blue, sterling flatware and hollowware, a huge collection of new Santas and Christmas items, vintage quilts, Victorian silverplate, early American pattern glass, and lots, lots more.  To be placed on the email distribution list to receive the invitation for early admittance (with address and time) sign up through the website.

Richland College Course on Estate Sales

Lorrie Semler will be teaching Handling Estate Sales, Course #282942, Section 81002, at Richland College on Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm, October 27 through November 22, 2004. This 16-hour course in the Continuing Education & Workforce Development division is part of a course of study leading to a Small Business Certificate. For more information and registration, contact Delores at Richland College,972-238-6918.


Our Services

  • Appraisals for probate/estate tax; equitable distribution among heirs; insurance coverage and claims; non-cash charitable contribution; distribution in marital dissolution; bankruptcy.
  • Estate Liquidations by auction or tag sale.
  • Litigation Support
  • Lorrie Semler is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers, specializing in Antiques & Residential Contents.


Thank YOU! 
Your referrals are always welcome.  Please let us know how we may better serve you.

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