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What Happens to a Loved One’s Belongings After They Die?

When a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent, passes away, they usually leave behind much more than their legacy and memories. As if the grieving process isn’t challenging enough, there’s another concern that may require timely action: “What happens to their stuff?”.

As trusted local estate liquidators in NJ, Bodnar’s knows it’s crucial to get an accurate idea of what “estate” actually means. While you might picture a beautiful mansion nestled on lavish grounds, not everyone’s estate is so ornate. Someone’s collective “estate” are the assets that comprise their property, most significant of which are outlined below:

The answer to this question varies case-by-case, although there are a few key ideas you should be familiar with regardless. If the deceased does not have a will, it means they’ve died “intestate,” which each state has established guidelines on (known as intestate succession laws). These laws control how the estate is handled in probate court, which aims to cut off creditor claims, resolve conflicting claims to property, and transfer titles. The estate may be inherited by spouses, children, or other relatives, depending on the deceased’s status.

If the deceased individual has a will, possessions can be correctly distributed. The individual appointed to administer the deceased’s estate is an executor, and those receiving items outlined in the will are known as beneficiaries. While beneficiaries can be spouses and blood relatives, they can also be close friends, charities, or even places of worship. Beneficiaries may wish to retain particular possessions, especially if they have sentimental value (photographs, jewelry, furniture, etc.), or they may choose to dispose of them.

A beneficiary may also sell items they are entitled to, which can be anything from a unique lamp to a classic car (although the latter inheritance will come with a healthy dose of title transfer paperwork). At Bodnar’s Auction, we understand that not every beneficiary is well-versed in appraising the values of items they’re not familiar with. Maybe they’ve inherited a comic book collection they suspect might be of high value, but aren’t quite sure. Perhaps the deceased has left them a home filled with antiques the beneficiary has no practical use for but wants to sell it to an eager buyer at the right price. As the largest auction house in New Jersey, we can help out with that! Our local liquidation auctions in NJ can sell the content of any type of home quickly.

In the next part of this blog, we’ll dive into some options you have after inheriting one of your loved ones’ most significant assets — their home.

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