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Has Anyone Had Experiences With Estate Liquidation?

My father in law is about to die from COVID, and has a massive hoard of antiques, paintings,valuables, junk, and everything in between. My husband isn't coping well at the moment, so I'm trying to get everything lined up beforehand. What can I expect from companies that do this? What is a fair fee for them to charge, and what happens to stuff that no one wants?He really does not want to deal with it, and just wants it gone, and to get whatever he can for it. His father does not have a will, and my husband is the next of kin. Any advice would be helpful.

by Anonymousreply 47June 23, 2022 3:21 PM

There are local companies that do that kind of service, maybe Google your location search. There's always goodwill thrift store donations, or charitable organizations that will come pick up what you do not want after the liquidation of Antiques and paintings etc. It's a lot of work...good luck, and remember that patience is a virtue.

by Anonymousreply 1June 21, 2022 8:20 PM

Do not consign it to an auction house (unless you have some major stuff that Sotheby's or Christies would take)...they'll cheat you, and there are lots of ways for them to do it. Have a liquidator come in, who will do a three day tag sale, usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. First day is full price, second day is 20% off, third day is 50-75% off. Go through the house with them and establish the asking (tag) price, so you have an idea of what to expect. At the end of the sale, they deduct their commission, and give you the proceeds. They may make an offer for what's left, or you can box/bag it up and give it away. Go though the jewelry and pull out the real gold and platinum, and if there's something you have questions on, pull it from the sale and deal with it after. Go to the sale and make your presence known, and try to have fun...talk to people and tell them the stories of items you know the history on...its marketing! Good luck.

by Anonymousreply 2June 21, 2022 8:48 PM

He has some paintings that we know are worth well into six figures, tons of Philippe Patek watches, and silk Persian rugs. I'm thinking we should just take out what is actually worth anything, and let them deal with the odds, and ends.

by Anonymousreply 3June 21, 2022 8:57 PM

This is the type of stuff we are dealing with. The house is 12,000sqft of objects, and things.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 4June 21, 2022 9:08 PM

Damn. Was he not vaccinated?

by Anonymousreply 5June 21, 2022 9:10 PM

Anyone with that much wealth not having a will is also likely too dumb to be vaccinated.

by Anonymousreply 6June 21, 2022 11:16 PM

Can I have his stuff?

by Anonymousreply 7June 21, 2022 11:19 PM

My mother was a paralegal for and did estate sales (frequently on referral from the lawyers she worked for) for years. It was a lot of work for her, but it was all cash, and depending on the estate, she made A LOT of money.

30% was standard when she did it (10 years ago she stopped). She sometimes charged a set-up fee of $500-$1000 depending on how much of a wreck the place was (and if she thought she would make money on the 30%).

You (and your husband) so go in, take what you want, and LEAVE. Do not go back the day before the sale and decide that stuff that has been organized and priced, you suddenly want. It is a dick move.

Make sure you have the actual legal authority to sell all the stuff. My Mom had more than one relative show up claiming (at the sale) that the stuff was theirs. Cops had to be called.

Accept that no matter how much his Dad paid for it, and how much you MAY see it for on eBay, a professional knows how to mark and advertise stuff. You could list that figurine on EBay for $500 and have it sit for months (or not sell at all), or you can just sell it for $250 and get if over with.

Stuff he may have paid a lot for is now worth shit - Disney VHS tapes (they went for over $100 in their prime), Benie Babies, artwork by local artists, expensive china (no one gives a shit about fine tableware anymore unless it is to complete a set, and then you are back to EBay.)

Don’t go to the sale. It is hard emotionally.

What doesn’t sell (and there will be a fair amount), donate it or toss it. I really encourage you to toss it. If no one else wants it, why would you? It is just going to collect dust in your basement.

Accept what you get and move on. The person/company has an incentive to get as much as possible so try to accept what you get. My Mom had some people who would complain, “I could have gotten $XXX for that!”, and her response was always the same, “well then you should have taken it from the beginning and sold it yourself.

by Anonymousreply 8June 21, 2022 11:35 PM

When my mother in law died we had a house filled with 60 years of stuff. A lady from her church ran estate sales and I cannot believe the money that was made on the shit we left. We spilt the proceeds 4 ways with the estate lady fees being 1 of the 4 way split. So she got 25%. People will buy everything/anything and the rest give to goodwill.

by Anonymousreply 9June 21, 2022 11:47 PM

We hired a company that organized the estate sale, priced everything, and did the advertising. After the sale, part of their agreement was to haul away the remaining items that didn't sell for donation or disposal. It was worth every penny to have the house emptied so we could get it ready to put on the market.

by Anonymousreply 10June 21, 2022 11:57 PM

[quote]He has some paintings that we know are worth well into six figures, tons of Philippe Patek watches, and silk Persian rugs.

If you find any pickle caddies, add them to this pile.

by Anonymousreply 11June 22, 2022 12:00 AM

Call a few art dealers who have sold similar prices and ask then what you should do. Definitely pull the watches and sell those separately.

As already mentioned, pull the gold and silver (if you already haven’t). You can sell that at your leisure as it’s easy to store and transport.

Everything else is probably stuff that you are lucky to be getting taken off site without paying a hauler. Sure, some of it may be worth something, but furniture is expensive to move and expensive to store. Unload it.

by Anonymousreply 12June 22, 2022 12:06 AM

No will means the estate has to go through probate and you can’t do anything until it’s settled.

by Anonymousreply 13June 22, 2022 12:13 AM

What r13 said.

by Anonymousreply 14June 22, 2022 12:17 AM

Thank you everyone. This is a lot of really helpful information. For those asking, his dad is 75 years old had a lot of life changes that caused him to void the last will he had, and he never got around to making a new one. My husband is the only is the only benefactor, aside from a few creditors so maybe he just didn't bother because of that. He is triple vaccinated. He simply is just old, and in poor health before COVID. Sometimes you can't help those situations.

Now I'm hoping to find a pickle caddy!

by Anonymousreply 15June 22, 2022 12:22 AM

R3 Patek watches are a goldmine, some older chronograph models being worth hundreds of thousands, definitely grab those from the lot and sell them at your leisure, perhaps at auction consignment.

by Anonymousreply 16June 22, 2022 12:29 AM

Despite what some say, I would look for a reputable auction house in the area and have them come and take what they want for auction, they will usually take 25%. It doesn't have to be Sotheby's there are a lot of good auction houses around the country. A local estate sale organizer is pretty much free to do what they want, unless you have a list of everything in the house small valuables can easily take a walk or priiced cheaply to be sold to friends. Valuable art should not be tag sale. Inventory one room at a time so you know what is there. I had to clean out a friend's condo and I took two months, it was a mess, but he bought valuable things and they were strewn about. I found a postcard from Robert Motherwell at the bottom of a bag of wastepaper.

by Anonymousreply 17June 22, 2022 12:56 AM

Incidentally, the brand of the watches is Patek Phillippe, not Phillippe Patek. Sell the watches separately. There are a lot of watch lovers out there.

by Anonymousreply 18June 22, 2022 1:02 AM

I would like to come look at the silver too. Sterling and plate.

Hey, I was telling my kids for the millionth time last night about how I got four tickets to the Antiques Road Show when in was at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC twenty-something years ago, and my jackass husband (not married at the time) didn't go with me. Did anyone else here go to that?

by Anonymousreply 19June 22, 2022 1:07 AM

Silver plate isn’t worth anything.

by Anonymousreply 20June 22, 2022 1:14 AM

Some of the stuff that you believe is valuable, probably isn't worth nearly as much as you think. Basically, it's worth what someone is willing to pay you for it... which might not be much if there's not any demand for it.

by Anonymousreply 21June 22, 2022 1:16 AM

Thank you R18, I saw my mistake after I posted it with the watches, but no edit function (thanks Muriel!) I just waited for an "oh dear" but you were kind in your correction!. There are a few paintings we plan on keeping because we like them. I agree with everyone about the furniture. It just isn't worth the hassle for most of it. All the little doodads, he has we could care less about. I told my husband, what everyone suggested. He is of the mindset, he just wants it gone, and if it's worth something great, if not, it wasn't his in the first place. The sad part is, he has 7 miniature Dachshunds we need to figure out homes for. I'd love to keep some of them, but we have two big dogs, one of which is dog aggressive, and I dont want them in danger. This is what is upsetting him the most. He is angry his dad bought so many dogs, when he was of an advanced age, and they frequently argued about it.

by Anonymousreply 22June 22, 2022 1:19 AM

Some silver plate is worth money. I buy it for cheap at flea markets and resell it on Ebay part time, when I'm not arguing with people on DataLounge. Some of the really nice pieces go for as much as the boring sterling patterns. So there.

by Anonymousreply 23June 22, 2022 1:31 AM

I had the misfortune of taking care of my childless aunt and uncle, long distance, for over 10 years. I was each of their court-appointed guardian of the person and guardian of the property (i.e., 4 guardianships for 2 people). They both died intestate, and I was the court-appointed administrator of the estate of the first to die (my uncle). My aunt died with $2,000 and on Medicaid, and legally speaking her state of residence at her death owns the $2,000. They had a LOT of artwork when I started the guardianships, which began because of their incapacity and having to move to a nursing home together.

OP, does your husband have a valid power of attorney document and/or a court-ordered guardianship? If not, any reliable reseller would know your husband has no legal standing to sell anything while the father is alive. Then, the instant the father dies intestate, the future court-appointed administrator of the estate will be the only person legally entitled to sell anything.

I sold my aunt and uncle's artwork collection using a local auction house (they lived in a large metro area). The auction house divided their collection into two groups: the higher-value items that were cataloged (i.e., photographed and placed in a auction catalogs with descriptions) and sold at standard auctions; and the lower-value items that were sold at regular weekend events at which either the reserve prices were paid or the reserve prices were reduced at a subsequent event. They sold things from an original Miro print to original posters from the 1930s and 1940s that had cartoon characters on them to prints that I thought looked like hotel pictures to small glass items. I had thought some of the latter items were junk, but luckily my sister has an art history degree and knew that everything needed to be characterized by experts before anything was thrown out. Indeed, every single item that went to the auction house was sold. The auction house took 25 to 30%, but they did a ton of work for many weeks cataloging every single item (there were hundreds) and setting a price for each. A lot of money was made, which ultimately contributed to paying my aunt and uncle's nursing home bills.

OP, this is serious business. It would be good for your husband to hire an estate attorney. It's up to the state of a deceased resident's laws to determine the distribution of an intestate estate. Your husband will have to have an estate attorney to handle the estate. To my knowledge, no probate court will let an individual open an estate without an attorney, so your husband may as well get one now. Good luck!

by Anonymousreply 24June 22, 2022 1:38 AM

R13 is correct, OP. This could take a lot longer than you expect, even if everything goes to your husband. Probate can take months in some states.

by Anonymousreply 25June 22, 2022 1:41 AM

It sounds like Dad is still alive. Is he competent to sign a new will? Can he add his son to his bank accounts?

Agree that people overvalue their stuff. Just because you paid $___ doesn't mean you can sell it for that much.

Also, people don't seem to place value on their time, how long it takes to try to sell stuff, individually, plus storage costs.

by Anonymousreply 26June 22, 2022 1:50 AM

Go to EstateSales.Net. You can find a company there and that is what all of the reputable sellers use to list their auctions around me. You can see example sales and even hire a company. Most of them do take something like 30% of the proceeds, but there are some that tack on the price to the person buying the item. For the more valuable things, go to liveauctioneers.com and find someone nearby. They do run like auction houses and tack on their fees above and beyond the sales price. They also have a lot of client base that can be widespread and they arrange shipping, etc. I've used both websites as a purchaser and intend to tell my heirs to do so when needed.

I went to a huge sale locally last week. It was UNBELIEVABLE how much stuff this woman had accumulated; for example, she must have had at least 20 different sets of plate chargers let alone china patterns! Walking around, I thought, "God, if I was the family, I'd just be happy to have schmucks hauling all of this stuff out of this huge house instead of having to deal with it ourselves."

Take what you like, have the really expensive stuff handled by an auction house, have an estate sale place do the rest, don't go to the auction, and never look back.

by Anonymousreply 27June 22, 2022 1:51 AM

Thank you R24 R25 & R13. Yes, his dad is not dead yet, but thankfully my husband has been speaking to his father's attorney. I am just trying to get an idea of what we can expect from estate liquidation. Your advice is very practical, and helpful.

He spoke to the ICU doctor earlier, and he has been placed on a ventilator. The doctor advised us to get everything in order, because he isn't expected to survive.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 8:07 AM

You should be aware (if you watch Antique Roadshow) that lots of expensive stuff is no longer worth much, because tastes have changed. Expensive china goes for pennies on the dollar now. No one under 50 uses it for entertaining. No demand, no money. Arts and crafts furniture which was all the rage 25 years ago is now passe. Federal style furniture can be worth a fortune if it is perfect and "correct", but anything that has been polished, or had brasses replaced will be worth 1/4th of what it was 20 years ago. It's sad for me, because a lot of that stuff represents "good taste" to me, and I hate walking into a house with unframed posters on the wall as the only "art" in the entire residence, and being served pizza on paper plates. It's a loss, but it's the reality of our time. A friend of mine was born into wealth, and has an estate sale company come in. The prices they told her for the silver and china and crystal seemed ridiculous to her, so she packed them up and tried to sell them to consignment shops and high end antique dealers. They practically laughed at her. Very few people are buying anything like that anymore. I agree with others - take what you like and value or are sure you can sell for good prices and let the professionals do their job of pricing what's left.

by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 8:54 AM

r11 I have a story for you. Last week I went to a yard/estate sale. In the basement they had the holder and lid for a pickle castor. It was marked $5 and I bought it thinking I might be able to find a jar for it. When I got home I realized that it was missing the tongs so I went back the next day and asked if they had seen any tongs and they were adamant that there were no tongs. I went inside to look around again and found a small box full of kitchen utensils and started looking thru it. I found some things to buy and when I picked up an item there were the tongs. they were marked 10¢. I was so excited to have found them. I left and as I was driving away I thought Wait! if the tongs were separated maybe....so I went back again and they looked at me as if I was nuts but I started to look and within 2 minutes found the jar. It was 25¢ so I got the complete pickle castor for $5.35.

by Anonymousreply 30June 22, 2022 1:02 PM

R30, that's your whole story? Shouldn't it have ended with "and the pickle castor is worth $50,000".

by Anonymousreply 31June 22, 2022 1:26 PM

My experience with emptying 3 households: find a reputable estate sale company and let them do it all. The good ones -- and they are easy to find via word of mouth or recommendations-- will get the most they can from your items and take a percentage. They will also have the leftovers carted away and clean the empty house. We did my uncles' house that way and made about $20,000. Recently, my mother died. We didn't have time to call in an estate sale company (the house was under contract) and we did it ourselves. It was hellish. Selling things, giving beautiful fine antiques away, sending most of it to a thrift store for battered women, bringing in the junk haulers for the dump. We made, at most, two thousand dollars and had crushing work to get it all done in two weeks.

I know too many people still dealing with estates years later because they want to get the most for things. Not worth it, in my book.

by Anonymousreply 32June 22, 2022 1:55 PM

Great resource R27! Thank you for that, and again thank you to everyone for answering. Once we get to that stage, we will just let the people we hire do their jobs, after we remove what we plan on keeping. I hope this tread helps someone else too, because there is some good information on here!

by Anonymousreply 33June 22, 2022 2:26 PM

r31 sorry, it's worth $200

by Anonymousreply 34June 23, 2022 2:40 AM

Look online for a Daschund specific rescue group in his state. They will do all of the legwork for you and find good homes for them very quickly. Make sure even if he his comatose he is told that all of them are going to excellent homes. It will give him peace.

by Anonymousreply 35June 23, 2022 3:12 AM

Talk to a good lawyer experienced in the process, OP. For Christ's sake.

As you swing into action to suck up the estate of a father-in-law who is still alive.

What a piece of sh-, well let's say "work" - you are.

by Anonymousreply 36June 23, 2022 3:16 AM

If you read the replies R36, we were told by the ICU doctors he isnt going to make it. You would have also read, I stated we are already speaking to an attorney. My husband was up at the hospital today talking to the nurse case manager, and the doctor about a DNR order. He is a 75 year old, 350lb man with COVID who is currently on a ventilator.

R35 We have already lined up a home for 3 of the dogs to go together. We are taking our friendly dog over to his father house to see how he acts with them. If it looks like they will get along we are considering keeping one of them. I have a rescue I found, I can call for the rest, providing none of the extended family want one of them.

by Anonymousreply 37June 23, 2022 3:37 AM

[quote] 350lb man

Holy crap!

by Anonymousreply 38June 23, 2022 3:41 AM

What R08 said…and the watch and art experts said.

Neither the watches or art will bring full value otherwise.

Don’t go…it’s painful and the old cunts who attend these sales are bitchy, condescending and cheap.

by Anonymousreply 39June 23, 2022 3:53 AM

"Extended family" R37 ? You better hope no one files a claim.

by Anonymousreply 40June 23, 2022 4:14 AM

Another vote for R13.... this man is dying intestate. Enjoy the wait.

For an estate where the residue is of some value, I'd take counsel from the lawyer, who presumably is experienced in complex or high value estates. Usual process, ask for three referrals on everything. It sounds like you don't really know what you're doing. No point insulting the old dead man by fucking up the value of what he leaves behind.

by Anonymousreply 41June 23, 2022 4:19 AM

Hire professionals ,the best you can afford. You might be fucking yourselves out of a LOT of money. Especially if he was a wealthy collector. Why settle for $50,000 when you can get $5 million?

by Anonymousreply 42June 23, 2022 4:29 AM

R39 here. We just completed my in-laws’ estate sale.

Not fun, but they (In-laws) were courteous enough to die within a month of each other, which made things a bit more convenient (truth).

I only say this publicly as my better half has taste and never visits this wretched place.

Hubs and I were at the presale (mistake) and to loosely quote Fran Leibovitz, most of the common folk are, quite common and barely presentable. They were the chief attendees.

Women with shorts riding up so high in the middle you’d think the garments were cooch-captured.

Their husbands apparently were, collectively, unaware that shirts with sleeves are available, and at a more reasonable price than those offered at a Harley-Davison dealership.

My late Father-in-law was quite the tool collector (as in electric saws, drills and other gadgets). These sold well, but would have brought more $$$ had they not been buyer-puller from the many storage facilities on site—big mistake…know your audience.

Other big sellers were antique quilts, kitchy avocado-colored appliances and once again, tools.

Good journey to you!

P.S. If they were Great Depression-adjacent, cash could be stashed away in clothing or the odd shoebox.

by Anonymousreply 43June 23, 2022 4:31 AM

R43 My late father had been a very poor child during the Great Depression. When I was cleaning out his home after his death, I found a drawer full of used wallets. I went through every one and found several hundred dollars cash in one of them. Every other wallet was completely empty.

by Anonymousreply 44June 23, 2022 8:19 AM

R43 You get dealers and pickers at these auctions, not folks looking to furnish their own homes.

by Anonymousreply 45June 23, 2022 8:46 AM

R43 is correct about tools. There's always a market for good quality tools. New ones are expensive, and quiet often, older ones have features that you can't find on modern tools anymore.

by Anonymousreply 46June 23, 2022 1:46 PM

[quote]P.S. If they were Great Depression-adjacent, cash could be stashed away in clothing or the odd shoebox.

My Mom found thousands of dollars at a few homes. I still can't believe it.

by Anonymousreply 47June 23, 2022 3:21 PM
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