Hoarder's packed home held $12K in potato-chip packages, estate lawyer recounts
It was years ago when attorney Stacy Singer served as the executor of the estate of a woman she had known as an impeccably dressed, well-to-do widow in her 70s, but she still remembers the matter vividly.
Walking across the deceased woman’s manicured lawn, Singer opened the door of her home to a surprising sight—papers were stacked floor-to-ceiling, with narrow pathways in between, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.
Such a hoarding situation exponentially increases the cost of administering an estate, but Singer had no choice but to soldier on or potentially face liability to estate beneficiaries, the article says. She currently works for Northern Trust in Chicago as director of estate settlement; however, at the time she handled the hoarder’s estate she worked elsewhere.
Singer had to hire help to go through the home, and the workers in biohazard suits couldn’t simply throw everything away because valuables might be interspersed amidst the junk. And, indeed, they found $12,000 in cash in 500 otherwise empty potato chip packages that were scattered throughout the home, the newspaper reports.
“It looked like she had saved every single piece of paper she had touched for about the last 20 years,” Singer said.