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When the Time Comes



When Stephen Vanner’s mother passed away in Kingston, he knew precisely which company could best assist him in his role as executor of her estate. Stephen turned to the team at Gordon’s Downsizing and Estate Services, a family business that serves seniors, executors and powers of attorney across Ontario. Gordon’s, which has been in business for over six decades, offers bundled services specifically for executors and downsizers. After moving clients to new homes, they secure, manage, appraise, and sell both the real estate and personal property while providing interim funding of all expenses so that clients can move forward with ease (payment is made upon closing of the real estate). 


Both Stephen and his wife were unprepared to deal with the time-consuming and emotionally draining business of winding up an estate entirely on their own. For them, and for family members elsewhere in the country, knowing they could trust someone to come in and handle it capably and sensitively was a tremendous help. 


“My sister lives in Saskatchewan and my brother is out of town, too, and they were pleased to know that the work of managing the estate wasn’t falling entirely to me. There was this ripple effect of relief through the family, which is another way the process worked in our favour.” Stephen, who earned his MD at Queen’s University and today is a professor at the University and director of the school’s Translational Institute of Medicine and Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit, was determined not to try to do everything piecemeal. He had watched his father downsize a few years earlier, going through the process of moving himself and selling off a lifetime of acquisitions on Kijiji.


“It was agonizing for him,” Stephen says. “I don’t think he was prepared for the emotional pain of seeing items he valued over the years go for next to nothing, or dealing with people who don’t show up at the appointed time, or try to lowball you. Eventually he was overwhelmed by this, and it fell to the family to help him complete the process.” In contrast, when Gordon’s was contracted to handle the disposition of his mother’s estate, the company team managed preparations for the sale of the property, taking care of the necessary inspections, repairs – a back fence required work – and cleaning. Because it was winter, they arranged for the driveway and walkway to be kept clear. 


When asked, Gordon’s provided the names of estate lawyers who could work with him. Communications from company representatives were always timely and clear, Stephen says, and people from Gordon’s were quick to respond to questions from the family. Once the Vanners had selected and removed what they wanted to retain, the estate auction was quickly organized and completed. “The whole process was like a gift to us,” Stephen says. “It was a completely positive experience from the get-go. They came in, assessed the situation, advised me what needed to be done, and then took care of everything. We were dealing with various people in the organization and no matter who was involved, they were a joy to work with. They clearly shared the same company culture and spirit. Whether it was on the real estate side or the auction side or any other, they were all great.” 


Gordon’s has earned the trust and gratitude of thousands of clients through its 60 years in business. “We take pride in offering our clients a seamless package of downsizing and estate services,” says Adam Gordon, President of Gordon’s Downsizing and Estate Services and a proud graduate of Queen’s University. “Our staff is knowledgeable and experienced and provide a predictable experience at a fair cost.” Stephen says that in the wake of his work with the company, he has no hesitation recommending Gordon’s services. “I’ve told all my friends what a wonderful experience it was,” he says. “Most important, I told my kids when our time comes, call Gordon’s!

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