Beth Sutherland has worn many hats in a storied career that stretches from an education in spiritual psychology to jobs in environmental project management and event planning in both the public and private sectors. She believes it has all been in preparation for what she does now. Today, Sutherland is the founder and owner of Your Estate Assistant, a company that offers dissolution services and aging adult transition solutions. Sutherland considers her job the perfect combination of everything she has experience in with the added bonus of feeling fulfilled at the end of each project – something, not always easily found.
Over the years and before officially starting her business, Sutherland had helped a handful of friends and family members with cleaning out the house of a deceased loved one.
“I realized the skill of sorting, itemizing, organizing and all the planning involved for either downsizing or to sell a house was actually not something the average person comes equipped with,” said Sutherland.
Moreover, Sutherland realized she was good at it. And, it became clear to her that people didn’t always have someone to turn to with these activities. Sutherland, previously a personal coach, also recognized her unique ability to be with people when there is chaos and crisis was a huge asset.
“It’s hard when people are not necessarily at their best, but are asked to be,” said Sutherland. “Having that experience as a personal coach helps, especially after a loved one has died, when someone is in the midst of a divorce, or when other big life changes are occurring.”
Sutherland moved to California almost 30 years ago to work in wellness, specializing in helping post stroke and brain injury patients. She later moved to Ventura in 1994 and worked with the City of Ventura on the area’s first “adopt a beach or park” program and has remained close by ever since.
“We are blessed to have incredible climate and I love to hike and be outside,” said Sutherland.
Sutherland receives the majority of her business via word of mouth and is commonly called upon by attorneys to help with dissolving an estate after a someone passes away. She stresses she is not an estate planner or lawyer.
“I focus on the contents of a household,” explained Sutherland who oftentimes works with family members who don’t live in the area. “Some houses have literally thousands of items and I have a process that includes taking inventory and creating a catalog with images.”
Sutherland commonly secures valuables including documents and will work to keep, sell or even ship items according to family members’ desires.
She also works to assist seniors who need to downsize their life. And, while her skills at planning, organizing and being detailed-oriented fold nicely into these types of tasks, she believes her background in spiritual psychology is what sets her apart.
“When you go from a 5,000 square home you’ve lived in for 40 years to 900 square feet, it’s not easy,” said Sutherland. “My role is much larger than organizing an estate sale, I’m there to help be an advocate for a client.”
Helping seniors to downsize often comprises of overseeing a move from start to finish. This includes examining floor plans and measuring furniture with the client to ascertain what will work in their new life all the way through helping them get set up in their new place.
“My clients and this work are very precious to me,” said Sutherland. “In fact, it’s the most honorable work I have ever done.”