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Estate sale debacle leads to nightmare for homeowner

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2018 | Estate Planning, Firm News

Everybody seems to love estate sales.

They are often a favorite way for relatives to dispose of the things that deceased relatives have collected throughout their lifetimes. And, most people who go to them consider a good estate sale to be the highlight of their day.

They can be like a treasure hunt for bargain hunters. Sometimes the executor of an estate will even arrange one — despite the fact that there are items of obvious value in the home that relatives might want to keep — because it’s the easiest way to liquidate the possessions of the deceased and split their value.

Usually, however, there’s a company of some sort on hand to manage the estate sale while it’s happening. Of course, usually the owner of the estate is also deceased when the sale happens.

That wasn’t the case for a Colorado woman who left her home unlocked for a brief time while she left to run some errands. When she came back, she found a small horde of intruders carrying armloads of her things out the door. Many items disappeared either before she got home or in the confusion before the police arrived to stop the madness.

It turns out that there was an actual estate sale happening a few houses down the street. It just may not have been carefully marked. A bargain hunter apparently got the address wrong. Seeing the remnants of an outdoor tag sale the homeowner had held and finding the door unlocked, that person decided that everything inside was part of the sale and up for grabs. The word spread.

Unfortunately, the police weren’t able to assist much in getting the homeowner’s lost possessions back. They have no idea who might have entered the home or what they might have taken. It remains to be seen whether or not the homeowner can, or will, take legal action over the matter against the executor of the estate that was actually having a sale.

You can avoid having all your prized possessions sold at an estate sale by making certain that your will is updated regularly, including a detailed list of who is to receive what part of your personal items.

Source: Fox News, “Colorado house ransacked after estate sale mix-up,” accessed April 06, 2018