When you agree to be the executor of an estate, you’re responsible for a variety of administrative tasks. One key duty is to distribute any property remaining after you’ve paid the estate debts. Sometimes this involves liquidating assets, which is the process of converting physical property, intangible assets and personal belongings into cash.
Read on for an overview of estate asset liquidation—and remember that if you have questions, James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help you through the probate administration process.
- Read the will: The deceased’s will often provides instructions as to whom the assets should pass and how. Before you get started, read their will and any related estate planning documents to make sure you understand their wishes.
- Inventory estate property: Next, make sure that no one removes property from the deceased’s home before the estate is closed. Collect the property (or ownership documents for items like stocks and bonds), and create a comprehensive inventory. If family members or friends try to take property before the estate is finalized, James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help you take appropriate legal action.
- Determine asset value: Next, you’ll need to determine the value of each asset. Some assets are easy to value, such as the contents of a savings account. Others, such as vehicles, real estate, fine jewelry and fine art will probably need a professional appraisal. It’s always better to have potentially valuable items appraised—the last thing you want to do is accidentally donate your grandfather’s rare coin collection to Goodwill. This can also settle potential disputes if any heirs or beneficiaries believe something is more valuable than it actually is. Look for a neutral third-party appraiser.
- Distribute and/or liquidate assets: Once the estate’s debts are paid off, you’re free to distribute or liquidate assets according to the deceased’s wishes. Valuables like fine jewelry and real property are often left to specific heirs—but there are often many personal items that might not be accounted for in the will. Ask the beneficiaries what they’d like to keep. Then you may sell valuables on behalf of the estate, and donate the rest of their belongings. Any liquidation proceeds must be collected in a separate bank account for the estate.
Asset liquidation and probate administration is often complex, especially for large estates. James Bart Leonardi, LLC can guide you through the process. Call today to learn more or schedule a consultation.