BOUNTIFUL – It’s hard to put a value on dad’s old fishing hat.
Especially after dad is gone.
What might not get a second look at a resale store might bring memories of trips to the lake and grilling fresh fish over a camp stove.
And if all the kids want the hat, it might bring bad feelings at a very sensitive time.
That’s where Ken Hansen comes in.
Hansen, a financial advisor for 55 years, has seen what happens when parents die and estates are divided.
“Stocks and bonds and the home are not a problem,” said Hansen. “It’s the little things that have sentimental value that cause the hurt and frustration among siblings.”
Hansen came up with an idea that worked so well in his family, he wrote it up in booklet form to share with other families.
“Don’t Let the Stuff You Leave Behind Destroy Your Family” was first published in 2010.
Now he speaks at standing-room only senior seminars, some sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch.
“After thousands of booklets, a whole pile of letters and a lot of phone calls, not one person that’s ever followed it said they’ve ever had a problem,” he said. “It works so well and the important thing is it keeps families together.”
After a series of stories illustrating the need for a system to divide property, Hansen’s booklet outlines a system for a family auction.
On a set date, siblings gather and an auctioneer is invited or appointed from among family members.
Before that time, siblings can look over items, but cannot claim anything – even if it was a gift they had given.
Each item in the estate goes up for auction. If no one wants it, it is set aside for charity. If several want an item, even if its monetary value is minimal, the price could be driven up.
A washer and dryer went for $20 at one such auction Hansen was told about, but a fishing hat Р one some first thought should be thrown out because it was beat up and worn out, went for $300.
The money paid in at the auction, is then divided up equally among siblings.
Some, in fact, may not end up paying anything if their total is the lowest. Detailed explanations are included in the booklet.
Hansen is anxious to share the information with others and will bring copies of his $5.95 pamphlet to your home or let you pick it up at his.
He’ll pay the tax, and for $7 will mail copies. Already, he’s filled requests from Massachusetts to California.
“I’m not trying to make any money, I’m just trying to get the word out as best I can that there’s a way to do this,” he said. “If I can do a little good in my final years, I will.”
At 81, the father of five and the grandfather of 23 he said he wants all his children and grandchildren to know they were all loved the same.
“I agree with you,” wrote one woman after implementing the program with her siblings.
“My parents had had similar meetings with their siblings just a few years back and there are still hard feelings on both sides of their families,” she wrote. “One of the last things our mother told us was that nothing is worth fighting over, but to love each other. The last thing my parents would have wanted was for us to fight over stuff and to ruin the family ties they worked to hard to foster.”
There are hundreds of books on wills and trusts and foundations, said Hansen, “but there’s not one book Р nothing about how to do these things to keep families together. That’s the important thing. Keeping kids together and talking and doing things together.”
To obtain a copy of his booklet, contact Hansen at 801-299-9500.