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What exactly can your heirs do with all of your unwanted stuff? - III

In today's post, we'll conclude our ongoing discussion of the steps that loved ones should consider taking when a family member passes away and leaves behind a significant amount of "stuff" that wasn't otherwise accounted for in an estate planning mechanism like a revocable living trust or simple will.

Last time, we explored how experts recommend that the first step in any effective estate liquidation strategy is securing the services of an appraiser who can help determine what remaining property merits special treatment. In other words, helping heirs ensure that nothing of value is inadvertently thrown out or sold for a pittance.

The next step that legal experts and financial planners recommend people take as part of their liquidation strategy is retaining the services of general property liquidation specialists.  

Specifically, these liquidation specialists will examine the items remaining after the appraisal, and determine what should be sold and for how much (typically yard sale values are used), what should be donated and what should be thrown away.

Once this process is complete, the liquidation specialists will make all of the necessary arrangements for an estate sale from sorting and cleaning to pricing and advertising.

After the sale itself is complete, they can then make arrangements for the remaining items, clean the home, and present the heirs with the total proceeds after deducting their predetermined fee.

Legal experts and financial planners recommend that heirs keep the following points in mind concerning general property liquidation:

  • Perform your due diligence when selecting a liquidation specialist, making the necessary inquiries about their services, checking references, visiting other estate sales they are running and meeting with representatives face-to-face.
  • Resist the urge to throw things away after the appraiser has come and gone, and while awaiting the services of the liquidation specialist, as there is still a chance you could be getting rid of something valuable.
  • Abstain from pulling items out of the liquidation process once it's already begun, as it can needlessly complicate the estate sale.  

If your loved one has recently passed and you have questions about the probate process or other estate administration matters, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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