We are used to seeing odd things in our line of work. When we help people with estate distribution, we run into surprises on a regular basis. One of our clients had “pet” mice that were allowed free run of the house. One had a roof with such long-delayed maintenance that you could see blue sky through the ceiling. And, once, we even found some very old marijuana with a well-used pipe from our client’s wayward youth!
But recently a find shocked even our most seasoned veteran. While emptying some old books from a bookcase, a Moving Forward employee pulled out a red Stouffer’s frozen dinner box labeled “Escalloped Chicken & Noodles.” A frozen food box in the bookcase doesn’t seem that weird. People with early stage dementia do tend to put things in odd locations and some of our clients are struggling with dementia.
It wasn’t the Stouffer’s box that took her breath away, it was the contents. Turned out, it wasn’t escalloped chicken & noodles after all. It was money. Bundles of rubber-banded bills. LOTS of bundles of rubber-banded bills. Like, TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH of rubber-banded, bundles of hundred dollar bills!
Now, that’s one pricey frozen dinner!
She dropped it like a dead mouse. I mean, even touching something like that is scary. It feels like all the burglars within 20 miles can hear your heart pounding and read your mind, “I have $10,000 on hand, and I feel vulnerable to a robbery!”
Oh, great. The homeowner was not present and was incapable of making financial decisions. The daughter handling the estate lived far away. So, what to do with the money now? How do we keep it safe? Hide it in a drawer? The freezer? Tuck it in a purse?
The employee called me, “I’m bringing $10,000 in cash to the office right now. I don’t know what you’re going to do with it, but I don’t want it in my house overnight!”
Like I want it in my house? I didn’t sleep too well that night.
First thing in the morning, I took it to the client’s bank and enjoyed watching the teller’s face when I dumped the contents of that red Stouffer’s box on her counter.
Now, I have one message that I want to make perfectly clear to the public at large: I do not still have $10,000 in cash in my office! I have never before had $10,000 in cash in my office and do not plan to have $10,000 cash in my office ever again!