Sell the estate’s goods

The deceased may have goods that are not wanted by any heirs or beneficiaries.

These items can be sold for their fair market value and cash proceeds are deposited into the estate bank account.

If you are unsure about the value of goods to be sold at an estate sale, you should have them appraised.

Or, if the estate is in need of additional money to pay bills and debts of the deceased, estate goods can be sold to help pay any outstanding debts.

An estate sale works similar to a garage sale by allowing you to sell all of the estate's goods at once or over a brief period of time.

This may also help the estate avoid insolvency if the estate’s debts are greater than the value of its assets.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more detail on insolvent estates, see the “Determine Solvency” section of the Guide.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on getting estate goods appraised, see the "Appraise probate assets" section of the Guide.

Helpful Tips

If the estate has outstanding bills and debts, but has used all of its liquid assets (cash), the executor or administrator may need to sell estate goods to pay those outstanding bills and debts.

The executor or administrator should be responsible for marketing the goods, selling the goods, and depositing the proceeds into the estate bank account.

While the executor or administrator can enlist the help of the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries, they should oversee the entire process.

For instance, heirs and beneficiaries may help with a yard sale or estate sale, but the executor should be in charge of the process.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant The executor should also be the one to handle any financial exchanges and see that money is deposited into the estate bank account. The executor, heirs, and beneficiaries should not use their personal accounts for transactions related to the sale of estate goods.

Once the funds are deposited into the estate bank account, the executor or administrator can pay any outstanding bills or debt of the estate using the funds in the bank account.

If there are any funds remaining after all debts have been paid, the executor or administrator can distribute the remaining funds to the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate according to the instructions contained in the deceased’s will (or according to state law if the deceased did not have a will).

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To learn more about distributing assets to Heirs and Beneficiaries, review the section, “Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries.”

Estate Sale Also known as a “tag sale,” these events are larger than a typical neighborhood garage or yard sale.

They are typically managed by an Estate Sales company and the public is invited into the deceased’s home over the course of 2-3 days to purchase anything that has been “tagged”

When looking for a company to help with this process, make sure to compare different company’s offering and fees; lower rates may not always be the best option because talented and experienced companies may sell more goods for higher prices

Estate Auction Similar to auctions where goods and property are sold to the highest bidder, an estate auction company will move goods from the deceased’s property to an auction house, and invite the public to competitively bid on each item.

While moving costs will be required, it’s possible that a well-established auction house may be able to sell items for higher prices and to a wider audience than an estate sale.

Online Sale/Auction This do-it-yourself method requires the most work for surviving family member os the Executor or Administrator, but may yield the most profit.

Create an online auction or marketplace on sales platforms like eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or a similar platform.

List photos, descriptions and prices for each item.

Newer websites that focus on one particular type of item, such as clothing or vintage furniture, may yield better sales results, so conduct a thorough online search to find what works best for the estate and the type of goods being sold.

Garage/Yard Sale For lower-priced items, or those more easily sold locally, hold a typical garage or yard sale at the home.

Price and tag items for sale and invite the community.

Donation For items with no sentimental attachment or with low cash value, there are many options available for donation.

Consider donating the items to an organization serving a cause the deceased was interested in.

Providers to Contact

Estate Sales Companies Near You

Estate sale companies help people sell the belongings of the deceased. They can help handle the sale of estate property and belongings and ensure that all paperwork is in order.

No results in your area.

Appraisers Near You

An appraiser is a professional who specializes in estimating the value of property. They can help you estimate the value of the property and belongings of the deceased. This can help you determine how to divide the estate properly.

No results in your area.