If you are a trustee or the executor of an estate, selling property may be among the tasks you will have to complete. You have an obligation to the beneficiaries of the trust or the estate to maximize what they will receive after a loved one’s death.
Failing to properly handle estate assets could lead to claims brought against you by beneficiaries. How can you protect yourself when preparing for an estate sale or to liquidate trust assets?
Make sure you know the fair market value of estate property
One of the biggest mistakes that trustees or executors make when selling property is the failure to determine what those assets are worth and to get the maximum value for them. Cooperating with a professional appraiser can help you determine the overall value of the property and can help you identify certain belongings, like jewelry, fine art or antique furniture that may be worth substantially more than the average person would expect.
Simply bringing in an estate sale company might not be the best approach, as these businesses frequently have rules requiring that you sell the remainder of the property to them at a reduced rate. They might charge too much during the estate sale so that very little actually sells, allowing them to purchase the majority of the property for a fraction of what it’s worth.
You have to be particularly careful if you want to sell individual assets to beneficiaries of the estate. Even they should offer the fair market value for any estate or trust property they would like to purchase. By determining a fair price for the most valuable assets in the estate, you help ensure you maximize what the beneficiaries receive.
Mentally focusing on the long-term outcome during trust administration or estate administration will help you better fulfill your duties.