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Randolph
01-11-2009, 11:28 AM
I was prompted to write this after reading another post, Tough Job Today, and I didn't want to hijack that timely post.

My brother-in-law died last November from a really fast moving melanoma. He was a cattle farmer and had a couple of hundred head of cattle, three tractors and the associated hay making implements required of the successful farmer. Since his death his widow has been beseiged by 'friends' who have assured her that, "Pete had agreed to sell me that Case tractor for $3500.00". Or, "I had an agreement to buy that Hereford bull for $1500.00". Or other assurances of that nature to help out the grieving widow.

Some of these neighbors were sincere and really wanted to help but the whole thing made me wonder about my shop tools and what would happen if I were suddenly go away --- and it can happen.

I think it is a supreme arrogance to try to control our possessions after we are gone and I have no desire to do that. But I don't want for some smooth talking jerk to come here and think that he can equip his shop with my stuff at my wife's expense so here is what I am doing.

I am making a list of all my tools including a brief history of how and where I got it and what I paid for it. I am not including every #7 drill bit but it is going to be a fairly complete list when I finish. I am including in this document recommendations about whose counsel to seek, about potential auctioneers, likely interested and fair parties and so forth.

For this to be useful I will have to update it about every three months or so and I can do that.

Is this a good thing to do? Will it be helpful if needed? I don't know but it makes me feel better to know she will have at least some basic information.

This whole discussion is likely a moot point anyway because I plan to live forever. I have too many projects going not to.

Frank Ford
01-11-2009, 11:31 AM
Keeping such an inventory is clearly a good thing to do. Not thinking about "final disposal," imagine how useful it would be for an insurance claim after a devastating fire or other disaster.

Cedge
01-11-2009, 11:53 AM
Randolph
Your experience is not unique. When we lost my father, my brother and I had pretty much been running the company behind the scenes and knew what was going on on a daily basis. Dad was known to wheel and deal, but he kept us in his personal loop so we knew what he had happening.

We too saw the vultures descend and try to pick clean the carcass of what the figured was a newly dead business.

The thing we witnessed in near amazement was WHO the few vultures were. To a man they were the people we had always trusted to deal honestly and with integrity. What really surprised us was not these guys.

What blew us away were the shaky sisters and those who always seemed a bit "marginal". I'm talking about the guys who were slow pay, or sometimes "no pay" . Nearly every one of these guys stood up and sent payment on debts that were often behind. One, who we suspected had stolen some equipment, even contacted us via a proxy and told us where the missing machines were.

By and large, we discovered a lot about those with whom we did business and the results surprised us. Some of it was prettybad, but mostly it affirmed our faith in human kind.

Steve

torchroadster
01-11-2009, 11:53 AM
Good idea, and you should probably keep the inventory somewhere other than your house, just in case of fire or other calamity.

One of the reasons I am helping my sister in law out (Tough job today) is that I don't want someone else taking advantage of her - not that anyone has tried but you never know.

torker
01-11-2009, 11:55 AM
I think that's a very wise idea. I've seen/heard of a lot of widows selling valuable stuff for peanuts because they had no clue of the value.

tony ennis
01-11-2009, 12:39 PM
You need to name a trusted friend as the caretaker of the disposal. He'll take care of your stuff when you don't need it.

sansbury
01-11-2009, 02:01 PM
A few months ago, my father (age 69) is driving somewhere with the nephew/grandson, who is far too wise for his age of 6.5. He says, more or less out of the blue,

"Pop-pop, when you die, I get to have all your tools, right?"

"Well, I think your uncle Colin might want some of them too."

"OK, but I get all the good ones, right?"

Father's still in good health mostly, beat a couple of lesser cancers (kidney and prostate), no other glaring problems, but I'll admit I twitch a bit every time I get a call from his wife (who I like, but she rarely calls me). He's got a very good woodworking shop and his wife would be hopeless at disposing of it. Metalworking machinery is even more challenging... there's a reason estate sales often yield too-good deals.

Rustybolt
01-11-2009, 03:21 PM
not to put myself away before my time, I told my daughters just to sell my stuff on ebay or give to one of my nephews. The stuff isn't worth what you think and secondly, I have it on god authority, once you're dead you won't give a crap what happens to it.
Enjoy it while you own it.

JCHannum
01-11-2009, 04:03 PM
The kids have picking rights, and my wife has the names of a couple of good auctioneers to dispose of the rest. Trying to inventory and value everything is more than I care to do, and my evaluation will have little to do with the selling price anyway.

Value and worth are two very different things. The auction gets rid of everything at once, it will all be gone at the end of the day. Some items will go for less than they might be worth, some more. On the whole it will pretty well average out, and the survivors will not be saddled with the burden of disposing of every last bit & piece.

It should be a hell of an auction, I wish I could make it.

gregl
01-12-2009, 01:44 AM
William Saroyan said he always knew man was mortal but that he thought an exception would be made in his case.

My father-in-law had quite a woodworking workshop, and some of you are right about the vultures. We were saddened by the behavior of a couple of his alleged good friends. Unfortunately, we let all the stuff go and I regret it now. A lot of the stuff was early 1900s carpenter's and cabinet maker's hand tools of a quality that is hard to find today. At the time, his widow was frantic about money and we didn't think to calm her down and get her to wait on selling. (My wife and I were just married and in our early 20s with no experience at this sort of thing.)

Something I have been advised to do, and have done, is to write a "letter of instruction" to be opened upon my demise, or imminent demise. It lays out all that I care about, including suggestions on what to do with the stuff. (And the locations of the other important documents, names of family attorney and investment adviser, etc.) In the end, I don't want to saddle my heirs with specific instructions as they will have to deal with circumstances that I cannot anticipate. But I do caution them about being too quick to disperse it all.

Be sure to have a will; durable powers of attorney, one for personal affairs and one for health care; and if appropriate, a family trust. We have now been through estate closings for several family members and the money you pay an attorney for this will be well worth it when the time comes.

Circlip
01-12-2009, 08:25 AM
Thanks to the bargaining powers we possess due to the far eastern manufacturers, Value has bottomed out and the items are Worth what we want to pay for them. How many tool gloats would there be if we paid Worth.

Regards Ian.

George Seal
01-12-2009, 08:41 AM
Morning Guys,
When I buy something new, somewhere on the tool I put price paid, date, and vendor. I told wife to sell it at 50%. Buyer will get a deal (as I don't keep any junky or broke tools) and she can recoupe some of her money that I spent.

Mcgyver
01-12-2009, 09:28 AM
The stuff isn't worth what you think

isn't that the truth.

I've had a few occasions of estates where the family seems convinced that the stuff is just soooooo valuable and secondly that everyone is out to screw them. With that combination is impossible to either help them or deal with them.

I'd rather see my stuff go to some nice keen young person than worry about value....the idea of value is not as simple as it may seem and really what one should be concerned about is the situation we put our loved ones in. For example, that nice Starrett mic you paid $100 for might have to sell for $20 in a tough economy. It might have to sell on kijiji or CL because shipping makes it not worth ebaying, and maybe you're in a small market so you have to price induce a sale. In other words, I don't want my wife thinking that everyone offering less than 100 is a scoundrel trying to take advantage....may she should sell that mic for 15 or maybe even less if its with a bunch of things....kindest thing i can do is make it easy for her.

Mcgyver
01-12-2009, 09:32 AM
Randolph
Your experience is not unique. When we lost my father, my brother and I had pretty much been running the company behind the scenes and knew what was going on on a daily basis. Dad was known to wheel and deal, but he kept us in his personal loop so we knew what he had happening.

We too saw the vultures descend and try to pick clean the carcass of what the figured was a newly dead business.

The thing we witnessed in near amazement was WHO the few vultures were. To a man they were the people we had always trusted to deal honestly and with integrity. What really surprised us was not these guys.

What blew us away were the shaky sisters and those who always seemed a bit "marginal". I'm talking about the guys who were slow pay, or sometimes "no pay" . Nearly every one of these guys stood up and sent payment on debts that were often behind. One, who we suspected had stolen some equipment, even contacted us via a proxy and told us where the missing machines were.

By and large, we discovered a lot about those with whom we did business and the results surprised us. Some of it was prettybad, but mostly it affirmed our faith in human kind.

Steve

I'm surprised to see you here after all the disparaging you've done toward this board, but welcome

John Stevenson
01-12-2009, 10:17 AM
I was recently asked to help dispose of a Bridgeport mill, early step speed model and a Myford 254 lathe. The vendor was still alive but not in good health.
The Myford had been bought new [ nearly 4K ] and was in good shape and the Bridgeport had been bought from a dealer at the hight of the good times about [ 2500 ]

I asked what he valued these at and was told silly figures, I explained that the bottom had fallen out of the market and currently Bridgeport's around here were fetching 900 tops, and the Myford, being an orphan, no longer made and virtually limited spares and virtually no accessories was probably worth 2500 tops.

I had made it clear that I wasn't interested in either machine but that I would advertise them and pass people on direct.

I was then given a figure of not much less that what they had paid and asked to list that. Needless to say there was no contact and when I told them I got the impression it was my fault.

I now refuse to advertise on peoples behalf's, it's not worth the hassle.

.

JCHannum
01-12-2009, 10:54 AM
McGyver's advice on values and reducing the stess on the survivors in disposing of things they have absolutely no clue about is why I have instructed my wife to send it to auction and be done with it. It will be cleaned up and gone in a very short time with minimal work on her part, and the best price at the time will be realized.

Alistair Hosie
01-12-2009, 12:28 PM
I think I brought up my three sons to be smart enough to find out if someone offers them peanuts for every thing and I'll leave it to them.Anyway man your going to be here forever buddy:D when you've gone you won't care about these things unless you thibnk know one will care and sell iot all off for next to nothing.That said human nmature is greedy at times and there are coffin followers out ther take it easy guys my pals here are too special to be going anywahere yet.Alistair

rdfeil
01-12-2009, 01:55 PM
I think that much of the advise given is good. I have helped with estate clearance both for family and friends. I will not do it again... The best advice I have seen here is to leave documentation as to what you want to happen to SPECIFIC items, IE: gift to relatives, friends, charities etc. The rest have the executor of the estate hire an outside third party to auction or sell directly. This relives the family of the stress and removes the well wishing vultures from the loop (Note: These people man not even realize they are being vultures). If they want it they will attend the auction. As to my mention of helping friends above, it becomes clear that in the time of loss nobody can reasonably put a value on stuff, myself included. We normally think that things are worth much more than the market will support. Just my $.02 for what it is worth.

Robin

Boucher
01-12-2009, 04:46 PM
During the last year I have been knocking on the pearly gates three different times. I don't know if the health care people are that good or If God has some unfinished thing for me to do down here. What ever the case, it has caused me to give serious consideration to disposal of the shop equipment. I have concluded that I would rather give it to someone that would appreciate it. I think that I know who that will be. By chance the wife just happened to walk into the shop last evening looking around in amazement and commented. You know you have a lot of stuff here, there is probably $20,000 worth in here. I just smiled and said, "You are probably right."

Cecil Walker
01-12-2009, 05:39 PM
Jim, you and i think alike. I told my wife that when i die call the auctioneer first, and then call the undertaker. One call...one check!

However if it should be left to any relatives (i don't have any, she does) it sure would be entertaining to come back and see the fight.

Cecil

Your Old Dog
01-12-2009, 07:49 PM
I think JC's idea about sending stuff to auction is a great idea.

When I was a full time gun engraver I met all kinds of guys with houses full of fine guns and most made the claim, "one day my family will be all set with these guns". That ain't how it works. Typically a vulture will come in and tell the widow that after she sells 3 firearms she is considered a gun dealer and needs to have a FFL Federal Firearms License. Then he'll tell her she can lot them up and sell them in 3 lots. Try to find someone with enough money to buy 30-50 guns that a guy has spent a lifetime collecting ! She ends up with 10 cents on the dollar if she's lucky. My advice, if there is some possibility that you may not live forever, start moving some of this stuff yourself and putting the money away for your spouse. If you are worried about stroking out sometime next week then maybe you doing all the leg work on finding an auctioneer will serve her better. Why let your wife suffer guilt of selling off the things you treasured. Be man enough to do it yourself.

I once found myself all wired up to EKG machines while my heart rate was in the neighborhood of 172 bpm. If you haven't been there yet let me tell you what is foremost on your mind. You end up worrying about what kind of shape you are leaving your wife in. Do you have enough insurance, will she know the passwords for your money accounts, will she get cheated on selling off your possessions. Those are the realistic things racing through your mind as you wait to cash out. If I went tonight I am at peace with the financings of our household in my wifes hands.

aboard_epsilon
01-12-2009, 08:25 PM
How about find a guy here in these forums that you know and trust ...and you know they are good at selling things on ebay ..

then set up an agreement with them that they will get 30 percent commission on all things sold.

he will try his best ..........and hopefully will get the best prices

your spouses etc ..will get 70 percent of it .and they should be quite happy .

better than bringing some scrap dealer in ..........which is what will happen in my case, if i don't find someone ..



all the best.markj

JCHannum
01-12-2009, 09:34 PM
How about find a guy here in these forums that you know and trust ...and you know they are good at selling things on ebay ..

then set up an agreement with them that they will get 30 percent commission on all things sold.

he will try his best ..........and hopefully will get the best prices

your spouses etc ..will get 70 percent of it .and they should be quite happy .

better than bringing some scrap dealer in ..........which is what will happen in my case, if i don't find someone ..



all the best.markj

How many individual items do you have in your shop, or items that could conveniently be grouped into individual lots of a manageable size. Translate that into eBay auctions that can take on the order of 30 mins to an hour each to complete, that is to photograph, list, cash out, package and ship. It translates into an enormous amount of time. Some of the items might go for several thousand, some a couple of dollars, it makes no difference, the time involved is essentially the same for each.

Considering that, it can conceivably take months to dispose of a shop in this manner. A good, local, auctioneer will generate about the same return, and charge about the same and the entire process can often be completed in a few weeks.

Take a look around your area, in the US, Auctionzip.com has weekly listings of auctions in the area, you can look them up by distance from your ZIP code. Take a look through and see which auctioneers seem to concentrate on tooling & related items and attend a few auctions. You will get a pretty good idea of which are knowledgeable about these things and will do a good job for you.

Reed
01-12-2009, 10:54 PM
Interesting and timely thread.

My Father passed away in Nov08 two weeks before Thanksgiving. He knew about this about 5-6 years before and he started disposing of the heavy equipment. Dozers, loaders, dump trucks, tractors, the large horizontal mills, large lathes, grinders, etc.

My parents moved into a retirement home 2-3 years ago , however Dad was not ready stop machining. By then he was not doing so well and could not move the smaller machines and tooling he had decided to retain, so I did. I moved a 9x49 TurnPro mill, 14 1/5 longbed SB, 12x36 Lion lathe, and a bunch more - 23'000+ pounds worth. It took 3 trips with the 26000 lb Budget rentals and several short trips to skid/pack. The move was from the Pittsburgh PA area to Charleston, SC and I live in Raleigh. Unfortunately he didn't get to use the machines as much as we hoped, but he SURE did enjoy them being there.

Now I'm moving and selling it. I'm VERY fortunate that I have some help and we moved the large pieces via 53 foot moving trailer a friend uses for fabrication work. The machines in Charleston are destined to Raleigh/Wilmington/Pittsburgh.

I'll be eBaying stuff for a good part of this year. No great value and the effort is looking to be more bother than the money it will bring in. I suppose it is in the hopes the tooling will find a good home and I wont have to scrape it.

So, what was he going to machine? Models! he has about 20 or so casting kits for various engines from a Maytag 1/2 scale that he just started (I intend to finish) to some 300+ lb beam engine model. I think there is 40 years worth of work, nice to see Dad was looking ahead and hoping to be the one that gets the "exception". <VERY BIG GRIN>

So, I reckon I'm writing this to balance out the _bad_ stories in this thread. :-)

- Reed
Raleigh, NC



How many individual items do you have in your shop, or items that could conveniently be grouped into individual lots of a manageable size. Translate that into eBay auctions that can take on the order of 30 mins to an hour each to complete, that is to photograph, list, cash out, package and ship. It translates into an enormous amount of time. Some of the items might go for several thousand, some a couple of dollars, it makes no difference, the time involved is essentially the same for each.

Considering that, it can conceivably take months to dispose of a shop in this manner. A good, local, auctioneer will generate about the same return, and charge about the same and the entire process can often be completed in a few weeks.

Take a look around your area, in the US, Auctionzip.com has weekly listings of auctions in the area, you can look them up by distance from your ZIP code. Take a look through and see which auctioneers seem to concentrate on tooling & related items and attend a few auctions. You will get a pretty good idea of which are knowledgeable about these things and will do a good job for you.

kvom
01-13-2009, 09:08 AM
I recently paid a visit to Randolph's shop; I'll bet that inventory takes a good bit of time. Lots of nice stuff in there.

Personally I believe a well-advertised auction would yield the best returns for disposing of good quality equipment.

Mcgyver
01-13-2009, 09:40 AM
Personally I believe a well-advertised auction would yield the best returns for disposing of good quality equipment.

problem is we're spread so far afield; I mean on a global basis there's lots but in any given geography there's not many HSM's. At least the technology based auctions have the reach....but it do agree they are a pita

any valuation methodology will have some assumption about there being enough time to find a willing informed buyer....that person just may not be within a 100 miles of you for the particular esoteric item you're selling. So you give it away or price-induce the sale; make the price so low someone who doesn't really need/want it buys just because its a bargain.

What people seem to forget is you only get to determine what you buy things for not what you sell them for - the market determines that. Worth, value, its only what someone will pay; what you paid for it doesn't factor in.

John Stevenson
01-13-2009, 10:10 AM
Good question is do you have the space and the prospective buyers from the surrounding area ? Once advertised and started there's no pulling back and 3 people or so could tie the prices right down on a scant attended auction.

I for one couldn't have an auction as there isn't enough room, even with a tent up it wouldn't hold enough people to may it viable.

We have machinery auctions every month in the main town but you have to get your stuff there yourself or pay them.

Imagine paying to ship the big beaver mill and TOS lathe and them fetch a realistic 400 to 500 each at auction with a shipping bill of about the same.

.

kvom
01-14-2009, 10:02 AM
It's very easy nowadays to provide telephone bidding and pre-sale book bids.

In addition, you can conduct an auction away from the shop, leaving the large machines in place but moving many of the portable items to the auction site. Of course there would be an on-site inspection period prior to the auction.

Randolph has more than enough items to hold a dedicated auction, as opposed to a consignment auction. Therefore everything could be inspected by buyers in one spot. I believe he also has the advantage of being a respected published author, and the quality of the items he has would likely be assumed by knowledgeable bidders. Hence it's likely that many would bid remotely without an onsite inspection.

David Powell
01-14-2009, 10:37 PM
I am lucky, the lad and daughter are both keenly interested. As soon as I have gone they will both be in the workshop, she will likely scoop any finished models she fancies and the gear to run and maintain them, he will probably take all the small tools and any machines he fancies for his shop and give or sell the rest of them at nominal prices to our friends. My only worry is that I must live to about 150 to build all the models and projects they both want, I just cannot build em fast enough and now the grandson is getting old enough to be interested as well !!! Regards David Powell.

Teenage_Machinist
01-15-2009, 12:43 AM
I am young with years ahead of me... but my ancestors....

One great-grandfather was a machinist who bought a really big lathe and this was the source of some heirlooms (one of which is being fixed by me on much smaller equipment).
After he died the lathe was crated up and as far as I know remains in storage held by a relative who does not know what it is beyond "a machine tool"

My dad had said he wished he had inherited it, but it would be wrong to ask. He had long been somewhat interested by the concept of machining and was surprised and happy when I decided to get a mini-lathe.

oldtiffie
01-15-2009, 02:30 AM
The topic of this thread is: "After I'm gone".

It seems to focus on what happens to your "stuff" when you die.

I'd have thought it prudent to at least to include/append "from my shop/tools" so that is now reads:
"After I'm gone from my shop and tools".

That can be any time while you are still alive and can no longer use all or some of your tools or the shop.

Having the use of it right up until you die as has been the focus so far is all well and good as the clean-up is more or less someone else's problem.

If you are reduced to not being able to use your tools - that is bad enough. If you have to sell them to survive - that's another. But if you are alive and have to watch them sold by and to others that is quite another matter altogether.

No one of knows when the "bolt out of the blue" that kills or disables you will arrive and how it will affect you. It is more likely as we get older.

It may well be that you are OK but that the disaster strikes your wife or family or business. Same result, same tools but just that the causative event did not happen to you directly.

Just "moving house and shop" may be so difficult that it is impractical and effectively not a good way to go. So - sell or dispose of tools etc.

I am 72 and know that I will be very lucky if I can still use my shop when I am 80. Chances are the event that stops me will arrive before I am 80 - so not a lot of time.

My shop and its contents have no intrinsic value to me at all. They are only a means to an optional way of indulging myself that I can well live without. They have no sentimental value either - as they are just metals and wood etc. They have no "book" or monetary value either as they were "written off" as soon as I bought them. Buying them did cost a considerable sum that is not counted on being recovered.

I only have to provide for my wife and that is well taken care of. She does not need the drama associated of first disposing of me and then my tools - or it could well be vice versa - its just not worth it.

If I am given a month before a disability or death gets me and if I can use the tools to do it, every tool and part of a tool or machine will be rendered useless and disposed of either to scrap or land-fill. I have the tools and machines to do it.

My wife will not be harassed by free-loaders, vultures, free-loaders, main-chancers, commission men, re-sellers, beggers and scroungers etc. - and the more so by "gloaters".

If I can get rid of it before she has to, it will not only be an unwarranted burden removed from her, but she will know that I disposed of it as I got it - pretty well in my own way.

In the meantime I use my shop as and when I want or can.

Given the chance, we will dispose of the rest of the stuff - house, car etc. by sale and get a worthwhile return for them. If the house furniture etc. needs to be junked - it will be. When we walk/go from here it will be with a lot of memories and no regrets. There will be no looking back.

We've had some occasions where we have had to consider this scenario very seriously - and we didn't have to implement it or have it implemented for us. So we know what is involved. One of these "events" is going to "get" either one or both of us in the quite foreseeable future. At this stage we don't what it will be or when it will be - we only know that it is inevitable.

We are ready for it.

"After we've gone" is not a problem for us - and as far as we can tell or plan - it won't be a problem for anyone else either.

In the meantime, we've got a life to live while we've got it, while we are able to do it and last but by no means least, while we've got each other as that counts above all else and without it nothing else matters.