Liquidating probate assets can be as easy or hard as you make it.
Do you know who's going to get all of your personal items you have collected throughout your life? Well, by the end of today's video, you'll have a better idea of your options and what could happen? For the best estate planning, probate, and trust administration videos, subscribe to my channel and hit the like button, the one like this, and the bell to be notified when I post a new video every Tuesday, I would really appreciate it.
We all collect items throughout our life. Some of it's good and some of it we have no idea why we keep it around. Some of it's our teddy bear. Sometimes items just have significant sentimental value. The problem is that our kids and family don't always share that same sentimental value for items.
We generally see this fall into three categories. First, kids do not have the same sentimental value, like I just said. Second, kids have way too much sentimental value to their parents items and can't let go of anything. Third, kids think everything is worth a million dollars. Believe me, we have seen it.
How kids and family decide to proceed is a personal decision. Some people like to just rip that band aid right off and others need to go through a long, hard process. It's part of the grieving process.
Let's first talk about the kids and family who don't always share that sentimental value. We see this a lot, especially with a couples' kids when they all live out of state. The kids don't want to mess with their parents personal items when they live hundreds of miles away.
We recently handled the guardianship of a lady here in Oklahoma City with three daughters. But we see this all the time. The daughters lived in California, Oregon, and the nearest one was I think in Texas. Their mother needed to be in assisted living, which meant cleaning out her house.
Besides a few items they picked out, none of the daughters wanted their mother's lifetime of personal items, and you can understand that, they all had their own families. So they hired a local company to come in and that company offered them pennies on the dollar for everything that was in the house. I mean, we are talking seriously and literally about pennies on the dollar.
I think they paid a few hundred dollars for everything in the house. Furniture, appliances, sheets, even the pillow cases. Everything went out the door for a few hundred dollars. Some people might think that's horrible to only get a few hundred dollars for a lifetime's worth of items. But think about the cost savings to these three daughters. They all lived out of state and needed to sell the house quickly. They would have spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets and travel expenses back and forth just to clean up a house.
In addition to the money, they would've had to spend hours cleaning out the house. Instead, a small local business cleaned out the house in a day and they left it swept clean. That's a new word that I've learned, swept clean. The house was then sold during the probate process within a couple of weeks.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the family members who hold everything dear to their heart and cannot part with a single item. Whether they live in town or out of town, they will spend months of weekends trying to clean out their parents' house. It's a choice, like I said, every family needs to make, but I always advise people to make a time value judgment.
We had a brother and a sister who both lived in Kansas City and they drove down a couple of weekends per month for almost a year after their parents passed away. By the end of the year, they were exhausted and admitted to me that they threw almost everything away in the trash anyway. Like I said, this is a personal decision.
Some family members need to grieve and cleaning out their parents' house for a year, well, that's what helps them get through it, and if that's what helps you, then that's what you need to do. Then there are those family members who believe all of those knickknacks in the house are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. These could be the little figurines like the Hummel's from Germany's, silverware, china or expensive porcelain from Spain.
I get all that, and there's no doubt that some of these items cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars when they were newly purchased. The problem that we see is that the internet has made it easy to sell these items to anyone anywhere, any time in the world. When selling expensive china and silverware used to be limited to a person's geographic area a few years ago, the internet has now opened up the world to sell these items. At first, this was a good thing because it made it easier to sell a bigger portion of the estate to a bigger audience, right?
Unfortunately, what has happened, that also means that more people can sell the exact same item, which in turn drives prices down, but for the record, I'm not saying all of your parents' items are worthless, but that collection of figurines might not be worth as much money as you thought it was or that your parents thought it was. In fact, did you know there's an artist who buys tons of once very expensive china, and she buys them for pennies on the dollar, then she breaks the dishes into pieces to use in her artwork. It's true. Your wedding china could one day end up in a piece of artwork.
If you're working on your parents' estate, then it comes down to a time value decision, unfortunately. Pick the items you want to keep, and, well, liquidate the rest. If you're a parent, then you can make it easier by deciding ahead of time who should get what item.
What specific item should go to who? After that, your estate plan should give specific directions on what happens to the remaining items. I know this is a lot to think about, so that is why we put together our free guide on the truth about legally liquidating your stuff, your personal items. I will put a link in the description section below, and again, in the comments section. I think it will help you out, so go download that after you watch this video.
If you missed our last four videos on getting left out of your parents' estate, then please go back and watch them. I would really appreciate it, and I hope you'll learn something, and click on the link below to get a copy of our estate planning questionnaire that I use every day to get you started in the right direction for your estate plan, and to up your estate planning game, please check out this video up here and this one up here.
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