My father has a lot of old boats, motors, and parts along with some property that needs to be liquidated. He is physically unable to move things and is out of money to pay for his care/expenses. Tips? Ideas?

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Boats are a way different set of problems to get rid of; cumbersome & why imo you often see boats run aground or abandoned. Even in harbors with rented slips, boats flat get abandoned as it’s work to keep them in service. Before you get yourself too too in the weeds on this, please please try to get a rough idea of how old they are, if they are seaworthy and rough idea what similars were sold for. Pay attention to the motor - whether it’s a powerboat or a sailboat - cause if his do not have one make sure your looking at smaller boats that too do not have one; if his boats have inboard motor its age will matter big time as boats can last decades but their motor gets replaced every decade so pay attention on its age. If sailboats, you need some idea on age of sails & how stored otherwise they are bedsheet useless and only good as a bimini.

Boats may not have what we usually think of as a “title”. We sail, ours have been bought / sold by doing a Bill of Sale and it will have info on motor along with specs on the boat (only so many manufacturers so this part is straightforward as based on size & model, eg Morgan 42) and it’s vin #. Vin usually on starboard side lazarette. Bill of Sale is sent to Coast Guard and USCG registers the boat with details, port, etc. Done annually. If you have a broker, they do all of this.

If your finding dads boats are too old or too damaged to be sold, try to see if someone wants them for scrap/ salvage and THEY COME GET THEM as You want them trailered off and gone as boats can have all sorts of environmental issues as to proper removal if they are on a property that it too needs to be sold. They have fuel, other flammables and all sorts of hard to ever decay surfaces.

Boats - if substantial value - will likely have whomever looking at buying it, will do a “sea trial”. By that I mean, the vessel is taken out onto the water and they run it or sail it. If your dad who is the owner cannot go on the boat for this then you will need to (assuming you know how); and if not what tends to happen is boat is sold by a broker. Boats of value are kinda always sold by a broker nowadays and owner does not board for sea trial but will have a deckhand aboard along with his Broker & potential buyer & his Broker. If she’s under 30’ LOA so it’s trailerable no deckhand as the brokers there to help. If it’s a cruiser, definitely deckhand. Realize diesel cost & deckhand cost are on seller every time she gets sea trials. A buyer may want to do more than 1 too. Boat brokers kinda like what a Realtors are for selling a house.

Trying to sell a better boat without a broker, well imo, you’re opening yourself up for problems. The classic is “buyer” takes it out to other side of a Lake or further out on coastline and she is gone. Or ostensibly take her out for sea trials and it becomes a party barge.

Owner will need to have boat insurance (covers physical boat & interior motor) and will also need an emergency policy for if something should happen while on the water. Big outboards need a rider. We had BoatUS/TowBoatUs and they will cover anything - short of it gets grounded due to a hurricane 🌀- if it’s within 25 miles of harbor if in a slip or launch coordinates if trailered. You have to have all safety equipment based on its size and a copy of all its Coast Guard paperwork on boat at all times. USCG ain’t playing if something goes amiss and your boarded. Boats can take time to sell unless they are really cheap imo. That means someone (you) will need to do regular trips to open her up to get rid of any diesel smell and freshey fresh everything day before & morning of when a buyer / broker comes around. If your dads boats are on some crappy inlet or on old trailers on land or in a boat yard, this is going to be a lot of work. If this is more what his flotilla situation is, try to find a salvage yard. Good luck!
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igloo572 Sep 2022
Also just in case your not familiar with boats, if your dads can be or are currently trailered, trailer will need its own items to be street legal eg license plate, reflectors. If she’s wide, then flags. If her mast is stepped, that has to be flagged and measured (& remember there is a reason why bridges and underpasses have height measurements posted). There’s a real art to synching down a boat too. If your dad has had boats sitting in the trailer frame, make sure the tires are serviceable. Tire rot is real and you do not, do not, want to have to deal with a blow out as the boat weight will shift and all goes real bad real fast. If you do need to tow these to open water, be sure your vehicle can actually tow the weight of the boat and the trailer combined.
Again if your dads flotilla is overwhelmingly old not maintained, and old motors, see if someone wants them for salvage and THEY COME TO GET THEM. Good luck & if these are sailboats and you have any ? PM me if you think that would be helpful.
When we inherited the river house we just put out the word among the neighbors that we were looking to sell a john boat and few motors. They knew my FIL and how he kept things, and they spread the word to friends, etc. We did have the titles so that helped, and we sold things pretty quickly,, but at a fair price.
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Just a comment on Geaton's suggestion re titles. Definitely get the titles transferred so you're not obligated if anything happens while any of the items are being removed.

You want to clear yourself and your father of all liability before anyone removes something that needs to be titled.

I also had an experience with that. One of the contractors found a potential interest for a travel trailer that wasn't sale-worthy. The interested individual planned to move the trailer from our property to his, then fix it up. I remembered that I couldn't find the title and would have to do so before he could take the trailer.

The individual and the contractor who had posted the ad objected, strenuously, and refused to speak further with me. One of the major issues was whether the pick-up truck the potential donee drove was capable of handling a 24' long tri-axle trailer. The towing service I used when my car broke down was very helpful, advising that the vehicle which removed the trailer needed to have either a half ton or 3/4 ton capability (I don't remember which).

If the hauling vehicle wasn't up to par, there could have been problems moving the trailer. So it was critical to get my parents' name off that title before it was moved. However, the donee refused to cooperate, so the transaction was aborted.
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I hope you/he has title to all or most of the items with wheels and or motors. Often it can be difficult to sell without a title. Title search can be done and lost titles can be obtained but takes time.
Search some "clubs" or groups that have singular focus. (MOPAR, Corvette, Corvair and others) If he has friends that have the same hobby start there they can help or they may want items themselves.
Property, consult real estate professionals.
Always the goal is Fair Market Value.
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In what condition are the old boats, motors, etc.? I ask b/c one of the options I explored was a sale, by a company that specifically focused on those items. It wasn't an estate sale company; from the limited experience I've had with them I don't think they're qualified to handle the more masculine type collections of boats and motors.

I don't recall the specific category for the male type stuff sales, but their scope of their interest included woodworking tools (drills, sanders, etc.), radial arm saw, and more.

You could try to search on those categories to find a company that focuses on these items. Had they been hired, they would have had an auction, on site at our house, and it would have been the responsibility of purchasers to remove the items.

The contractor with whom I spoke said at that time that they auction the items, but typically anticipate that they'll make at least $15K from the sale. This was a few years ago so it may have changed.

If your father has old tools, that could be big draw. The men in my family feel that older tools are better than the new ones, and I think they're right.

Another option, depending on whether or not your father needs cash specifically or could benefit from tax deductions, is to consider donation to a 501(c)(3) company. I found 2, both of which were Appalachian type schools, teaching woodworking, metallurgy oriented classes, and more. One was of special interest: it held a Veterans Day each week, during which Veterans could use the tools in the school for their own purposes, w/o cost.

Those were the kind of companies to which I wanted to donate, especially since I could use the tax deduction to offset some of the income from the trust assets (house was held in trust).

Hope this helps.
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Hi, Concerned. My ex, now deceased, left car parts for 2 classic cars he was restoring in my mom’s garage rafters. She recently moved into AL. I had no clue what to do w/them, or their value, or even what exact years they were for, other than ‘60s something. I found the collectors/restorers Facebook group, asked to join, and posted my dilemma. Five people responded that they were willing to drive or fly to my mom’s house to I.d. and appraise them. They were gone within a week.
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Collector's clubs, Estate sale?

Put the house on the market.
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I agree that you need to start by finding the titles, deeds, etc.

Next (to get top dollar) you will need to know the brand, model, and year of the boats/motors and their conditions: are the boats "seaworthy" (do they float without leaking)? Do their inboards work? Do they come with a trailer? Also post at all local marinas.

If you don't have the time or energy to do this basic research, then you will need to sell "as is" -- but as a motor and sailboat owner myself -- I don't think anyone would purchase a boat without knowing the basics first. Make sure all titles get transferred properly! Do not trust the buyer to do it if at all possible.

Sell his house and properties through a real estate agent. I wish you success in getting it done!
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The person who sells a car is the one on title. I would imagine the same goes for boats. As to who would be interested in buying these things that need liquidation I will leave it to you to find what works in your area whether CraigsList, the Facebook Marketplace, Paper ads, Auction houses and auction, etc. This varies across the country. I am assuming your father agrees and wishes to sell these things.
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TNtechie Sep 2022
Just a warning: when listing things in public venues remember there are some bad actors out there that may look on an estate like sale as an opportunity to either come back later and steal various items or to accost the person showing items. Consider posting cameras with an internet feed (sending what is caught on video to internet storage immediately) on the property so anyone who comes to view items will know they are on video the cops will have access to. Another good idea is to photograph the car and the person you show the items to; if you have your phone set to backup the pics to some stroage site then you are set. These steps will deter most people looking for an easy mark and at least you leave some leads for the investigators if you turn missing...

Do you live nearby? Drive around or look in the paper for estate sales. See who the auction company is. Everyone is different. If they are not a certified appraiser, they can probably tell you who is. Auction companies will specialize. Ask them for references. Auction companies also have movers and shippers that they will recommend. They also know the paperwork that will be needed to sell something.

Is this sale so that he can qualify for Medicaid?
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