Sunday, January 24, 2010

My dad's house

I went to Texas last month to get things moving so I can sell my dad's house. He died at age 85 on October 30, 2005, about a month after he fell in the house. He broke his neck and lay there for some time before he was discovered. My dad didn't have a valid will. I hired a lawyer, chosen pretty much out of the blue, in Kerrville. He discovered that the previous owners of the house, Mr. and Mrs. X, had failed to transfer the deed after the house was paid off. Furthermore, Mr. X had died and Mrs. X had moved to another state. So, even though I'm my dad's sole heir, I had no clear right to the house. I also didn't have much time to deal with it, because Christine, Joey and I were preparing to spend most of 2006 on a sabbatical in London. So the only thing that got done in 2006 was that my cousin Julie and her husband Jesse helped me go through the house, and I drove back to Colorado in my dad's car with stuff that had sentimental or possible financial value. The latter category included some jewelry, a few paintings, and the car itself.
My dad was a doctor and should have been able to retire comfortably, but he was bad with money. Getting divorced from his second wife when he was in his 80s didn't help.

I've been ignoring the house for years because dealing with it involves paying the lawyer, and what I'll get back is not clear. The house is a mobile home that wasn't in great shape when my dad died. In the last year, kids have broken windows on two occasions, and the place is really moldy. There were personal papers in the house that I wanted to go through, but I couldn't stand to be in there for much more than an hour at a time, so in the end I only took a few photo albums. The best thing that happened was that a couple with a store where they sell antiques and junk gave me $600 for the stuff remaining in the house. That includes clearing out everything except trash and a decrepit refrigerator. I'm so grateful to be rid of the house that I almost hope they make a big profit.