I read an article this morning that reminded me of the importance of checking estate personal property for liens before scheduling a sale. Any estate property that has a lien or other claim on it cannot be sold until the debt is satisfied. That includes titled property like cars and boats, and untitled personal property
I continue to read horror stories from consumers about their bad experiences with moving companies. The refrain is always the same: the big, bad, moving company overcharged me, damaged my goods and will not pay up. Well, I have appraised moving damage claims for over 25 years, and I can tell you that the problem
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that only about a third of all internet moving brokers meet federal registration requirements. That means that two out of three moving companies are operating outside the rules. Yet, most people start their search for a mover online. Yes, there are many reputable companies to be found online.
Moving companies are often wrong when it comes to estimating the weight and value of your household goods shipment. Some estimators do a pretty good job, but there is such high turnover in the industry that you never know how experienced your estimator really is. If you make your contract decision based on price, you
About five years ago, I was asked to inspect a moving damage claim on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The movers’ truck had flipped over on an exit ramp and rolled down a hill. When I arrived at the customer’s home to inspect the damage, I found the worst mess I’ve ever seen on a moving claim.
As an appraiser, the question I hear most often is: what’s it worth? I don’t just hear the question at work; I expect to get the question there. I mean I hear it at the mall, in line at the grocery store, at parties, and sitting in the doctors office. What is my antique furniture
On my last Alaska cruise as an art auctioneer, my friend Tamara, the ships’ Port Shopping Ambassador, related the following story: a passenger purchased an item of jewelery from a store in Skagway for around $10,000. The following day, the passenger got a serious case of buyers remorse, and sought to return the jewelery on
O.K.; you’ve been appointed Executor of the Estate. You don’t know if this is a blessing or a curse. There is a stack of bills to pay: utilities, mortgage, funeral expenses. Heirs and relatives are clamoring for “their share”. Before the bills can be paid, you have to collect all the money that is due
There’s an old saying that goes “What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Personal property is the “elephant” of an estate. It’s the responsibility that can take up most of your time, and it provides the estate with the least amount of money for the effort involved. But, dealing
I just got off the phone with Nancy. She is feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her mother has just died, and Nancy has been appointed executor of her mothers’ estate. Nancy has a full time job and a family of her own. Her mom lives in a different state. Nancy doesn’t see how she will have
Your teenage grandkids probably don’t want to inherit the collectibles you now cherish. but don’t despair; the value one places on family heirlooms changes as one matures. To a 15 year old, grandpa’s journal is just a dust collector. When that 15 year old reaches 45, the same journal becomes a treasure of family history.
I told my wife that the url for my new blog was going to be “downsizing-mom.com”. She grimaced and I got “the look”. “Downsizing Mom”? she said; “sounds like a weight loss blog”. She’s right, in a sense. Throughout our lives, we tend to accumulate “stuff”. Clothes, furniture, appliances, vehicles. We surround ourselves with the
There is one thing I can count on whenever I evaluate an estate: most rooms will have one floor and three or four walls. Consequently, well-decorated homes may have many more items on the walls than on the floors. Too often, estate executors spend most of their time inventorying the large items of furniture on
Sorting through an estate last month, I came upon a desk whose top had apparently not seen the light of day for at least a decade. It was piled high with receipts, papers and junk mail. I shuddered as I opened the drawers to see what was inside them. Drawer number one was filled with
Arguments rage as to whether it’s better to consign collectibles for resale via auction or to sell them oneself via private treaty. Detractors of the auction method say that auction house fees are too high: up to 50 percent of an item’s final price. Auction enthusiasts say that the auction method of selling is inherently
You’ve worked long and hard to build your business. You have a great reputation, strong cash flow, a solid asset base, and reliable employees. You operate “lean and mean” as a sole proprietorship. You may be a car mechanic, consultant, plumber, eBayer, building contractor, landscaper, professional or other entrepreneur. Then you die unexpectedly without an
The headline of the consumer complaint post was brash: “They literally stole our whole house: they sold $42,527 worth of items and gave us a check for $1,682.” The details of this homeowners’ plight were tragic: he had been “ripped off” by an estate sale company. According to the story on ripoffreport.com (specific company/client has
It’s a common occurrence: an executor calls an estate sale company to provide an estimate for liquidating an estate’s personal property and the liquidation company says “no thanks.” Why does this happen, and what can an executor do when it does? It happens because liquidating an estate’s personal property can be a monumental job, and
There was a time when prosperous Americans eschewed durable consumer goods. Rarely would they buy a mass-produced sofa or dining set. Instead, they bought functional antiques that would hold their value from generation to generation and not be fodder for the dump in six or seven years. Take the DuPont’s of Delaware, for example. The
Rumor has it that estate attorneys all over America are gleefully dancing around their desks. The reason for the lawyerly ruckus was that the Internal Revenue Service had just lost a case with major implications for the estates of collectors. At issue was whether an estate could parcel out an art collection according to the