Estate sales can be challenging endeavors. If you are facing the prospect of planning and undertaking an estate sale, you undoubtedly have an array of questions and concerns. In anticipation of an estate sale, these questions and concerns tend to be magnified because you necessarily are needing to pursue this type of project in the aftermath of the death of a family member or other loved.
Understanding the unique challenge you face in anticipation of an estate sale, there are some specific elements of the overall process you are well served to better understand. These include a series of five interconnected elements that comprise the process of planning, preparing, and pursuing an estate sale, as are discussed in detail in the Definitive Guide to Plan and Execute a Lucrative Estate Sale.
The Probate Process and Authority to Conduct an Estate Sale
The preliminary step in mounting an estate sale involves the legalities of the probate process itself. The specific facts and circumstances surrounding the estate of the deceased individual governs how the probate law in a particular state will apply. Detailed attention is paid to the legalities of an estate sale to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what generally is involved.
Every state in the U.S. has its own set of probate laws. With that noted, probate laws in nearly all states are quite similar. Indeed, most states have adopted what is known as the Uniform Probate Code, or some derivation of it.
As mentioned a moment ago, the probate legalities and process needed to be addressed in advance of planning an estate sale stem from the nature and extent of the deceased person’s estate. The initial consideration in this regard is whether or not a deceased individual had a last will and testament.
If a will exists, its terms and conditions generally govern the course of the probate process. There are two primary purpose of a will. First, a will directs how the assets of an estate are to be distributed and who is to receive what. Second, a well designates what is known as an executor. An executor vested with the responsibility and power to carry out the directives in the will. The executor is the person responsible for seeing that a probate sale is carried out, if necessary.
If the deceased individual died without a will, the assets of an estate are distributed in the manner set forth by a state’s probate code. The probate court appoints an administrator or personal representative to oversee the affairs of the estate.
There are instances in which an informal probate process can be utilized. This occurs in a situation in which an estate has a smaller amount of assets. This type of process necessitates little involvement of the probate court.
There are estates that require a formal, or “full-blown,” probate process. In such a situation, the probate court will be more directly involved in the case. For example, there will be at least one court hearing, if not more, before the planning for an estate sale can occur.
Strategically Organize Personal Property
Once legal niceties have been addressed, personal property of the deceased needs to be organized and categorized to identify what items will be part of an estate sale.
The Definitive Guide to Plan and Execute a Lucrative Estate Sale identifies five categories into which a deceased person’s property is to be categorized as part of the process of preparing for an estate sale:
- Items to keep
- Items to store
- Items to donate
- Items throw away
- Items to sell
Engage Professional Assistance
Beyond retaining a probate attorney, the need may exist to hire other experienced professionals to assist with an estate sale. For example, a professional service may be needed to provide a dumpster and to remove items that are designated for disposal in the organizational process. Depending on the type of estate sale planned, a professional auctioneer may be required. There are even concierges that can assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of an estate sale.
Managing the Actual Estate Sale
In addition to tending to legal matters and identifying property that will be sold at an estate sale, the sale itself requires thoughtful, coordinated management. This includes everything from promoting an estate sale to providing assistance to those individuals who elect to participate in the estate sale as buyers.
Accounting for the Proceeds from an Estate Sale
Whether or not a formal probate process is required, there must be an accurate and thorough accounting of estate sales process. In a formally probated case, the court must have this information. In an informal situation, heirs of an estate are entitled to this information. The accounting obligation underscores the need for a complete, comprehensive, and accurate inventory of personal property in the estate.
By paying attention to these five elements associate with estate sale planning and execution, the process itself will be smoother. Tending to these matters best ensures that all legalities associated with the probate of an estate are fully met.