Step 8: (Optional) Allow outside parties to bid on certain items.
Make a list of all items that are neither heirlooms nor items that have been assigned to recipients at their appraised values. Use the answers to question (2) of Step 5 to divide these remaining items into two categories: Items that none of the bidders would want to keep and items that at least one bidder would want to keep.
For items that none of the bidders would want to keep:
Try to sell them before the auction and distribute the proceeds as cash. This will spare bidders the inconvenience of having to appraise items that they don't want for themselves. Selling items before the auction also helps poorer recipients. If they have a lot of cash, they'll be able to bid more freely since they'll be less likely to worry about dipping into their own savings to compensate others if they receive more than their fair share of the property.
If you're in a hurry to auction the rest of the stuff, you can instead sell these items after the auction. Use the proceeds to balance the accounts.
For items that at least one bidder would want to keep:
These items will be auctioned to the highest bidder in Step 11.
If the estate is large, invite estate liquidators or other outside parties to make sealed individual bids on the more valuable items. Use these bids as reserve prices, but don't reveal these prices to bidders. Tell outside bidders that if they win, they can have the item for the highest bid (not the second highest bid).
Let the recipients know which items have reserve prices (without revealing these prices). This can save bidders time. Mary, for example, isn't interested in owning the walnut desk. If there's a reserve price that's close to the desk's market value, then she needn't spend time figuring out its value and can bid a low amount.
If more than one outsider has bid on an item, the highest of their bids becomes the reserve price.
Example: The Sniders have asked an estate liquidator to bid on the green sofa and the walnut desk.
Go to Step 9
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Copyright © 2004 Lori Alden. All rights reserved.