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  • Writer's pictureDenise Davis

Estate Sale and Probate: What You Need To Know

Updated: Apr 13


Estate Sale Sign

Denise Knows Probate!


An Estate Sale is a service that may be necessary in the probate process. The probate process is a legal process that ensures the decedent's debts are paid and assets are distributed according to the will or state law.


First, a few terms to cover

Decedent - The person who died

Estate Sale - a method of selling all (or nearly all) of the contents of a home

Executor - The person named in a Will who now has the authority to sell the decedent's property

Administrator - The person authorized by the court to sell the decedent's property

Assets - property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and may be sold. The funds will be used to payoff creditors, taxes, beneficiaries and heirs.


[Need help with probate? Join our Private Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers, learn from others or share what you learned about the probate process. Be the first to join our new group! Join Here.]


Estate Sales

Estate sales can be used when a decedent's assets need to be sold in order to generate enough funds to pay creditors.


Estate sales involve the sale of an individual's personal property, such as furniture, artwork, jewelry, and automobiles.


In North Carolina, real estate does not have to be sold unless the other assets do not generate enough funds to payoff creditors.


Once everything has been sold, the proceeds from these items will be deposited in an estate account and used towards paying any outstanding debts and ensuring proper distribution of the estate according to state law.


Estate Sales require organization, attention to detail, and knowledge of local laws and regulations; therefore it is wise for the executor or administrators of an Estate Sale to hire a professional Estate Sale company who specializes in this service.


The Estate Sale Company should have experience.


Estate Sales companies should have knowledge of Estate Law and local regulations. They should have the experience to ensure that the Estate Sale is conducted smoothly and efficiently, helping to quickly distribute assets according to the decedent's wishes.


They should also have a team of experienced Estate Sale assistants who can handle the process in an efficient and organized manner.


By hiring an experienced Estate Sale company, executors or administrators of an estate are more likely to get the maximum return for the assets in order to pay creditors and beneficiaries in accordance with state law.


Estate Sale Companies are invaluable assets to Probate Attorneys, Executors, Administrators, and Estate beneficiaries alike.


Who is an estate sale for?

Estate Sales are for anyone who needs to quickly sell assets in order to pay creditors and distribute assets according to the decedent's wishes. Estate Sale Companies can provide valuable help in getting this done.


Does Everything have to be sold?

Family cleaning out garage

No, Estate Sales typically involve selling only those items that have significant value. There is no need to sell every single item in an Estate Sale. In fact, Estate Liquidators and Estate Sale Companies often leave certain items behind as keepsakes or to be donated to a charity of the executor's choice.


It is important to remember that Estate Sales are not intended to make a profit, but rather to generate enough funds from the sale of assets in order to pay creditors and other obligations associated with Probate.


Therefore, it is important to work with your Estate Service provider so you can make sure that you are getting the most out of your Estate Sale while still honoring the wishes of the deceased.


What is the difference between an estate sale and a garage sale?

An Estate Sale is different from a garage sale in that Estate Sales are typically organized by Estate Liquidators or Estate Sale Companies with experience in selling items.


They also often involve more expensive and valuable items than you would typically find at a garage sale.


Estate Sales also take place on a much larger scale, often over the course of several days. Estate Sales may include furniture, artwork, collectibles, antiques and other personal property owned by the decedent.


The goal of an Estate Sale is to maximize revenue for Probate purposes while honoring the wishes of the deceased.


A Garage Sale, on the other hand, is typically held by individual homeowners and involves household items such as clothes, toys, books and smaller electronics that are no longer needed.


Garage sales are often held to make a profit, while Estate Sales are intended to generate enough funds to cover Estate expenses.


Ultimately, Estate Sales and Garage Sales serve different purposes and require different levels of organization and expertise.


Who pays for the estate sale?

pink piggy bank on top of calculator

Typically, Estate Sales are paid for by the Estate of the deceased. Estate Liquidators and Estate Sale Companies typically charge a commission on items sold, as well as other fees associated with organizing Estate Sales.


It is important to discuss these costs with your Estate Service provider prior to beginning the Estate Sale process so you can make sure you understand all of the costs involved.


In some cases, proceeds from an Estate Sale may be able to cover all or most of these expenses.


Does an estate sale need court approval?

In some cases, Estate Sales may require court approval depending on the Estate and Probate laws of your state.


It is important to discuss these requirements with your Estate Service provider prior to beginning the Estate Sale process so you can make sure all necessary steps are taken in order to comply with local laws.


What happens if the estate sale does not generate enough funds to pay creditors?

If an Estate Sale does not generate enough funds to cover Estate expenses, the Estate may be forced to sell additional assets such as real estate to pay the deceased debts.


Every estate sale is unique and depends on the individual needs of the Estate or Estate Trustee.


The Probate Process

the word probate spelled out with wooden blocks.

The probate process can be a long tedious process involving different steps to take. If you are in North Carolina, one way to stay ahead of things is to stay organized and on track with the probate timeline.


Once you have completed selling the assets, with the money in the estate account you can now begin to pay off creditors and distribute any remaining funds to the beneficiaries and heirs.


Once all creditors and beneficiaries have been paid , the Estate can be closed and Probate Court can release its control of the Estate.



Final Words

I hope this information was helpful and provided insight into how Estate Sales work. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. It would be my pleasure to put you in contact with an Estate Liquidator or Estate Sale Company who has experience in conducting Estate Sales in your area. Thank you!


[Need help with probate? Join our Private Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers, learn from others or share what you learned about the probate process. Be the first to join our new group! Join Here.]



Denise Harper Davis Certified Probate Real Estate Agent

Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist

Licensed Realtor

252-902-9006




* NOTE: North Carolina Probate Solutions and the author of this article is not a licensed attorney or CPA. This post should not be considered legal or tax advice. Always consult an estate attorney or tax professional when needing legal answers and legal advice.


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