Many questions and concerns can arise when one is faced with the responsibility of caring for an elderly loved one and their personal property.

This can be especially challenging if that elderly loved one prefers to live a solitary lifestyle and has few, if any other, living relatives. Added special challenges can arise when one is faced with the responsibility of selling the contents of that loved one's house after they have passed away.

In this month's article, I'll share a friend's story of his rather puzzling but not totally unheard-of type of unexpected situation. Next month, we will look a few considerations involved in making various decisions for selling the contents of a house in such a situation.

The unfortunate experiences of my friend who shared his story with me a few years back can illustrate that it might be worth the time to do some preliminary thinking before such a challenging situation develops.

My friend's elderly uncle was a bachelor with no children and had lived conservatively all his life. My friend had been the main caring, contact person for his uncle for many years.

His uncle had collected a can of gold coins in his lifetime and enjoyed privately getting them out and occasionally looking at them. He had even taken them from their special hiding place and shown them to his special nephew on one occasion. At that time, he told his nephew that someday when he passed away, he wanted him to have those coins in appreciation for all he had done for him through the years.

His uncle was a rather eccentric type of individual who kept to himself most of the time. By outward appearance, he seemed to have few worldly possessions, as he lived out most of his life in a modest lifestyle. My friend had noticed that very few relatives and other people had taken time to visit his uncle, especially in his later years.

When my friend's uncle passed away and the various legal procedures had been accomplished, he went to his uncle's house to see the coins in their hidden storage place. They were gone, and my friend said he never did find out what happened to them.

My friend had wondered many times who might have taken the can of coins and what he could have and should have done differently so his uncle's wishes concerning the coins would have been accomplished.

Two additional characteristics of his uncle are relevant to this article: 1. He trusted very, very few people. 2. He rigidly believed in and relied only on verbal communication to communicate his wishes and concerns.

If you choose to do some reflective thinking on this article, you might theorize or do some mental gymnastics concerning accomplishing his uncle's wishes for the coins. What do you think my friend could have or should have done to most appropriately help accomplish his eccentric uncle's wishes concerning those coins?

Marvin Mann, Plainville, is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. Send questions to him in care of The Hays Daily News, P.O. Box 857, Hays KS 67601.