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8 Top Tips for Disposal of Important Personal Property After Death

Posted by Tonza Borden on April 2, 2013 at 4:35 PM

What is important personal property? It is top-notch furniture, antiques, works of art, jewelry, books, motor vehicles, airplanes, boats, livestock, firearms, stamps, coins, and gold bullion.

Tip 1:  Personal property is also inventory and store fixtures used in sole proprietorship business estates of artists and dealers.

Tip 2:  Before you dispose of important personal property as mentioned above, I recommend consulting an estate administration lawyer to get a clear understanding about who owns what in terms of spouses and joint ownership, especially where there are blended families from previous marriages? Were any appraisals or inventories prepared before death?

Need a lawyer? Check out!

What about important personal property taken prior to death for “safekeeping” by a beneficiary or a non-beneficiary? How about alleged gifts prior to death?

Tip 3:  Certain personal property may be distributable to the spouse or surviving children/family members that may not be distributable through a Will. Again, consult with an estate administration lawyer to avoid any misunderstandings.

Security Considerations Prior to Disposal

Tip 4:  Securing imporatant personal property is a necessary consideration such as storage lockers, contracts, alarms and alarm codes, and access rights...

Other major ways of securing important personal property includes insurance coverage and appraisal to avoid conflicts.

Tip 5:  Estate taxes (fair market value in retail marketplace in which the item is commonly sold) may not sound like a way to secure important personal property, but it is. According to the Internal Revenue Service Art Advisory Panel, items appraised at $20,000 or more should be:


  • Photographed
  • Appraised to establish income tax basis
  • Adequately insured
  • Distributed fairly among beneficiaries

Distribution Among Beneficiaries

Consider who pays for delivery based on Will provision or state law and who is responsible for insurance while property is in transit. Properly document the delivery and receipt of the personal property to the beneficiary. Cancel insurance after transfer is complete.

Tip 6:  Sale alternatives are:


  1. Upscale Estate Sale - Donate items that do not sell.
  2. Private Sale (Obtain independent appraisal first!)
  3. Estate Auction
  4. Sell to an antiques dealer or through an estate sale consignment broker, but obtain an independent appraisal. You will pay a significant commission for consignment.

Tip 7:  Taking the responsibility for holding a private sale (selling it yourself) eliminates commission with the possibility of a quick sale and immediate payment. However,  trustworthiness of buyer and privacy are issues.

Tip 8:  When distributing or selling vehicles, boats and airplanes, you are required to transfer the title.

Finally, make sure that you have the power to sell, store and insure important personal property after a loved one's death before you dispose of it.

Thanks for reading. Post a Comment to ask me anything about estate sales!" target="_blank">

Written by Tonza Borden from Atlanta, Georgia:  Hi, I'm estate liquidator of, and publisher of Secret Of Estate Sales Marketing Success: REAL Estate Sale Techniques & Templates To Go From Beginner To Getting An Endless Stream Of Estate Sale Clients. I help people find the resources they need to succeed in estate liquidation, worldwide. 

Categories: Estate Donation | Estate Moving

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