The Personal Representative

Probate: Organizing an Estate Tag Sale


Probate Estate sale

Organizing an Estate Tag Sale

For estate executors, personal representatives and trustees getting rid of unwanted clutter is a prerequisite for listing an estate home for sale. Even if the home is to be distributed to beneficiaries a harsh reality of life is the adage… “one man’s treasure is another man’s trash”. Certainly valuable and memorable keepsakes should be cherished by the next generation and the ones to follow, but most items within a home falls into the general category as “ordinary stuff”.

Mom’s toaster…. is just a toaster

Beneficiaries should come to grips with the realistic fact, that not all of Dad’s or Mom’s “stuff” is a keepsake and begin the process of disposing of household belongings.

Alert: For many bereaved family members the process of selling a loved ones belongings at 5 to 10 cents on a dollar is too painful and guilt ridden to tackle without the assistance of a yard sale agent.

In many circumstances, the best solution is to outsource this to a professional. A professional’s skill will likely pay for their fee while eliminating the hardship for the family member.

Also, if the household estate is out of town then hiring a dispassionate professional may be the most economical and efficient strategy. Consider the cost for your (family or friends) assistants air fare or travel expenses and food. Consider the capacity of these “helpers”. Can they lift heavy objects? Are these helpers prone to having strong opinions? There are a lot of items in a house which means there are a lot of decisions to be made. The risk of exposing friends or family members to potential squabble situations should be avoided at nearly all costs.

For those who wish to go it alone … we offer the following tips.

 Set out your discards at the beginning of the day and by mid afternoon you'll have much less stuff and (with luck) a lot more money. (Want to share the wealth? Rent a table or space at a fund-raising tag sale hosted by a local church, school, or civic group. The charity benefits from the entrance fee, while you benefit from lots of traffic. You keep the proceeds.)

When should you have it?

The needs of the estate are likely to determine the most appropriate timing of the yard estate sale. But consider the first Saturday of the month as it's the day after many of your hardworking neighbors have been paid.

How Long Should a Tag Sale or Estate Sale Last?

The duration of your sale is up to you, of course, but:

 One-day sales are best in most cases. A full day in the sun (or shade, if you can find it) — say, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. — is plenty of time to get rid of your wares, and shoppers shouldn't feel as if they have all the time in the world to haggle and browse. So don’t let your sale drag on until dusk.

 A two-day schedule is most appropriate for an estate sale, in which an entire household of inventory needs to be moved, Estate-sale goods tend to be upscale; if your items fall into this category, an auction may be a better solution. Generally, items earmarked for auction should be items in excess of $300. To find a professional appraiser go to our appraiser - “search for a professional” section.

What to Sell at an Estate Tag Sale

Look at your items as if you were seeing them at a garage sale. Would you buy them again, even at a discounted price? If not, then sell them, keeping these points in mind:

 Best-sellers tend to include sporting goods, furniture, tools, books, kitchen appliances and framed art.

 Clothing usually doesn't sell as well, because by the time it's for sale, it's already out of fashion. Carey Rademacher, creator of ItsDeductible, a donation-valuation software program, always suggests donating clothing instead of trying to sell it. "A bagful of brand-name or designer clothing could be worth a $250 tax deduction versus a fraction of that at your sale — if the clothes sell at all," she says. Consult your tax advisor ahead of time.

 Don't repel potential buyers with items that are not clean or personal care objects like; used cosmetics. Garage sales are recycling sales, not garbage dumps.

 Don't hawk antiques or truly valuable collectibles (which may include items that are 40 years or older). Tag-sale shoppers expect to pay very little for your unwanted goods, and there are better markets for such items. Call an appraiser, and consider using an eBay trading assistant to fetch the best prices for this stuff.

Make sure you keep an accurate record of your estate sale proceeds and expenses. The probate court will require a proper accounting. Contact your county probate office for details. Discuss your intentions to conduct an estate sale with your probate attorney before you sell probate or estate assets.

Next... What You'll Need to throw a Estate Yard Sale

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