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3 Things You Need To Do BEFORE Planning An Estate Sale

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There's no getting around it: planning an estate sale can be a stressful time. You're most likely still grieving over the loss of your loved one, and now you need to deal with selling their possessions and paying any outstanding debts held by their estate. This process can seem overwhelming, especially if you've never had to plan for a similar sale before.

The good news is that you can reduce the stress involved in planning an estate sale by doing your research and carefully preparing for the task ahead. Make sure you keep these three critical tips in mind before you start the bulk of your estate sale planning.

1. Resolve Legalities First

Dealing with an estate requires you to be the executor or administrator of that estate. The difference between these two titles is essentially a matter of semantics. If the decedent left a will, that document should name an executor to manage the estate. If not, the probate court appoints someone to act as an administrator to fill the same role.

You'll need proper legal authority to work with an estate sale company, manage estate debts, and so on. If there are any questions over who will handle the duties of the estate's executor/administrator, make sure you resolve these (using probate court if necessary) before planning a sale. Dealing with these issues now can save you from much larger legal headaches in the future.

2. Pay Attention to Liabilities

What happens if a buyer suffers an injury while browsing items at an estate sale? The answer can be more complex than you might think. In general, standard homeowner's insurance policies cover accidents and injuries that occur during events such as yard sales or estate sales. However, these insurance policies may have some specific terms relating to occupancy.

Before worrying about estate sale planning, always investigate the insurance situation on the decedent's home. Keep all policies active and in good standing, and avoid any lapses. Estate sale companies typically want to see ongoing coverage, so allowing the policy to fall into inactivity can delay your sale and create many potential liability issues.

3. Don't Make Promises

Be careful when agreeing to give items belonging to the decedent away to friends, relatives, or other individuals. Once you hire an estate sale company, their representative will want to inventory the estate and will expect to have all the items they find available for sale. It's okay to give away some items before hiring an estate company, but make sure these items are either taken immediately or marked clearly.

Remember that the best way to ensure a successful sale is to plan well and avoid creating more issues and hassles for yourself in the future. By dealing with legalities, liability, and family obligations first, you'll create the solid foundation you need for a trouble-free estate sale.