Estate Data documents home items, collections
Business Name: Estate Data LLC.
Location: The Vail Valley.
Date Opened: 2005.
Owner: Susan Brown Milhoan.
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What goods or services do you provide? Estate Data has been creating photographic inventories of exclusive properties for more than 11 years. The goal of our business is to help people recognize the need for and to fulfill the importance of home owners having visual documentation of their personal or business possessions. Insurance is the most common reason to have an inventory. Prior to settlement for property destroyed or stolen almost every insurance company will require a list of personal property being claimed.
There are many reasons for having an inventory other than strictly for insurance purposes. Our clients often ask us to document collections of artwork, antiques, silver, stamps, coins, jewelry, etc. in order to help them make preparations to donate or distribute their worldly goods to heirs or charity. It’s possible that an inventory of tangible property will be required in settlement of an estate.
What’s new or exciting at your place? Traditionally homeowners will rush through their homes snapping pictures of what they own and tell me they already have an inventory. When I ask where the pictures are, they usually tell me they’re still in the camera. That won’t do much good if there is a loss due to fire or theft.
It’s time consuming and not altogether easy to assemble and organize photos and documents. At Estate Data, we prepare these details in a number of ways suited to the needs of the owner. For instance, several copies of a DVD, flash drives or Dropbox files can be created and given to the client’s personal lawyer, financial advisor, insurance agent or family members. For estate planning purposes, we prepare high-end bound books which clients can use to visualize the entirety of their collections for presentation to other collectors, family members or for perpetuity.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Estate Data stands alone in providing this exclusive line of work. We have basically been operating by word of mouth for years and find that the quality of our product, the pricing and our long history in the valley elevate our reputation.
What philosophy do you follow when dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you?
Our primary objective is to satisfy the particular needs of the client, whether they are looking for overall photo inventory of residential contents for insurance purposes or documentation of select items. Given the nature of fire danger in the Vail Valley, we always encourage at least room-by-room documentation. We ask our clients to close their eyes and tell us everything that’s in one room of their house. It’s close to impossible. Having a few photographs is a simple way to jar the memory.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I’ve lived in the Vail Valley for more than 50 years. It still amazes me that in my lifetime the valley has gone from a sheep ranch to what it is today in terms of the quality of homes and businesses. My bachelor’s degree is in photography but the majority of my career has been working for local nonprofits (until I figured out it was not for profit for me as well) but nevertheless very rewarding.
Estate Data was founded when I went to my insurance agent and asked what he thought of the idea. He said he could save both himself and his clients (his office burned down) thousands of dollars if they would have pictures to prove what they owned. My first clients were my parents, who used their inventory to determine how to disperse their personal chattel among my siblings and me. It saved what might have been a tug of war over certain items. I’ve since learned that one of the greatest intra-family conflicts is not over a large inheritance but over sentimental personal property dispositions.