What to do with your tools when putting together your will?

Joined
Dec 11, 2011
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545
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USA
I am planning for my future demise (the beginning of the end so to speak) as I am in my later years - still healthy and love wrenching, still buying new tools!

However, no one in my family seems to have my interest in mechanical things, or repairing them. I will have a 2-post lift to "dispose" of, bunch of air tools, hand tools, numerous electrical tools (drills, sanders, routers, planers, etc), chainsaws, all kinds of things.

I know if I don't plan this out, all of my tools will be sold for pennies at some auction. I would rather give them away to someone, or an organization, than see that happen (which of course I won't - being no longer around). Having said that, I would like to think I might be able to sell them, depending on time remaining of course!

It just bothers me to think now of what will happen to them. And no, I'm not sentimental - I just don't want some scammer making a ton of money off my family after I'm gone. I'd rather my family have the money or the tools if they so desire.

Anyway, thoughts?
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
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3,288
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Southern Illinois
High school mechanical shop class. Local trade school. A friend or his son/daughter. All of my tools are going to my daughter's. One has done a ton of work on her house with You Tube's help. The other one likes tools and her husband is always doing, fixing something. That's where my limited tools are going.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
143
I am planning for my future demise (the beginning of the end so to speak) as I am in my later years - still healthy and love wrenching, still buying new tools!

However, no one in my family seems to have my interest in mechanical things, or repairing them. I will have a 2-post lift to "dispose" of, bunch of air tools, hand tools, numerous electrical tools (drills, sanders, routers, planers, etc), chainsaws, all kinds of things.

I know if I don't plan this out, all of my tools will be sold for pennies at some auction. I would rather give them away to someone, or an organization, than see that happen (which of course I won't - being no longer around). Having said that, I would like to think I might be able to sell them, depending on time remaining of course!

It just bothers me to think now of what will happen to them. And no, I'm not sentimental - I just don't want some scammer making a ton of money off my family after I'm gone. I'd rather my family have the money or the tools if they so desire.

Anyway, thoughts?
Many people run into this problem with firearms collections.

I tell my clients:

1) Give it away, or sell it during your lifetime... that way you set the terms, and you get to see the recipient enjoy it.
2) Check with local tech schools and community colleges to see if they would take a donation of tools.
3) Leave your executor (Personal Representative "PR") a detailed list of anything extra valuable with an estimate - they will thank you later.
4) Instruct your PR to have the items sold at an estate auction... this should insure FMV even though you have to pay auction fees.

Perhaps most importantly, if these are just tools, with no sentimental value, then allow the PR and your devisees to dispose of the items as they best see fit when the time comes. No one has a crystal ball, and no one can foresee the future... pick good agents you trust, leave clear instructions, and then let it go... after all, when the time comes, you will not care... you will be dead. We all like the idea of "setting our affairs in order", but people who try to exercise "dead hand control" from the grave cause problems and headaches for their heirs and devisees...

80% of my clients' estate plans can be summed up as:

1) Everything to my spouse if my spouse survives me;
2) If my spouse does not survive me, then everything to my issue, per stirpes...
3) The End

The above is not legal advice, and internet advice is worth every penny you pay...
 
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Joined
Nov 29, 2003
Messages
978
Location
Ohio
The next user of your tools will never know how they were used-abused-maintained and the buyers trying to score something cheap are not always well-motivated to take care of their own things, let alone someone else's. Unless you can give them to someone you already know, I wouldn't do it. When you're getting ready for your time, small amounts of money are not that important IMHO.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
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SE British Columbia, Canada
Its hard but the best way is to down size to a smaller place and sell all your tools prior to moving. I remember one gentleman in the small town I grew up in posted a nicely made wood sign that he had tools for sale. That sign stayed up for years until he passed away. And yes, auctions were very common for liquidating things.
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
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MO
Tools always sell at a premium at all of the auctions I’ve been to. You might be surprised what your stuff brings (you’ll be dead so it won’t matter). People pay over new price for tools at auction and even pay ridiculous prices for Pittsburgh and Buffalo junk from Harbor Freight.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
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Jupiter, Florida
I work as an aircraft mechanic. I have 5 big toolboxes at 5 different airports, and a home machine shop. I'm not at all sure my family should have to deal with all of that.

Maybe I should just leave my tools at the hangar for the next guy.... The value they have to me is not the value they would have on the street or ebay.
 

Zee09

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I work as an aircraft mechanic. I have 5 big toolboxes at 5 different airports, and a home machine shop. I'm not at all sure my family should have to deal with all of that.

Maybe I should just leave my tools at the hangar for the next guy.... The value they have to me is not the value they would have on the street or ebay.
I was thinking the same.
Mine won't be in a will.
Not my problem anymore
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
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South Carolina
Down the street from us was an old man who had every tool in the world. Never used them. His wife was super sweet, him, not so much. Apparently, when he died, he said he wanted to take his money with him (it was in the will!,) and his tools.

So, his wife, very witty woman, after he passed, sold all the tools and wrote him a check for all the money plus the tools. She slipped it into the coffin as it was being closed up.

Great lady.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
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Louisiana
I have a decent set of tools . Enough for the average homeowner . My sons and grandsons can divy them up among themselves . My guns are a different story altogether . I've been thinning out the herd over the last few years . I sold my WWII collection because none of them would have any interest in that and I would hate for them to sell for pennies on the dollar .
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
12,689
Location
Illinois
Down the street from us was an old man who had every tool in the world. Never used them. His wife was super sweet, him, not so much. Apparently, when he died, he said he wanted to take his money with him (it was in the will!,) and his tools.

So, his wife, very witty woman, after he passed, sold all the tools and wrote him a check for all the money plus the tools. She slipped it into the coffin as it was being closed up.

Great lady.
I've seen the same, but it was the lawyer who did that. The man wanted to be buried with his money and instructed his lawyer to do so.

After the man died, the lawyer deposited the deceased man's money in his account and slipped a check into the coffin at the visitation.

Only way it would be better is if the check was placed with the body before the cremation :)
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
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British Columbia, Canada
The big exception is tools with a history. I have tools passed down from my father, my FIL, my wife's great grandfather, a mentor, etc. If anyone in the family likes old things, or is the family historian, these tools should be left to that person. It's nice to have a few tools from generations past. I use the better ones and keep the others purely for their sentimental value. The important part is leaving the story too - no point in being left an old tool unless you know the story.

I volunteer at a museum workshop. We have a lot of donated tools. The better tools are kept and used, excess duplicates and poor versions are sold.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
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Caldwell Idaho
I work as an aircraft mechanic. I have 5 big toolboxes at 5 different airports, and a home machine shop. I'm not at all sure my family should have to deal with all of that.

Maybe I should just leave my tools at the hangar for the next guy.... The value they have to me is not the value they would have on the street or ebay.
While I am not up to your standard brain wise I worked on forklifts and fleet vehicles and I ha retired . I look at my tools and they are what made me a living. To any one else they are just tools.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
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Louisiana
There is a group here that has a shop for the neighborhood kids to come in and repair bicycles that have been donated or they can bring their own . They sell refurbished bikes too . They also have a homework time and strict rules to teach the kids responsibility , etc. I donated two boxes of extra hand tools to them and they were really appreciative .
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
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MA
I've seen the same, but it was the lawyer who did that. The man wanted to be buried with his money and instructed his lawyer to do so.

After the man died, the lawyer deposited the deceased man's money in his account and slipped a check into the coffin at the visitation.

Only way it would be better is if the check was placed with the body before the cremation :)
It's part of an old joke about the priest, doctor and lawyer. Guy gives each one of them a 1/3 of his cash to put in his coffin. After the funeral at the bar, doctor confesses it wasn't the full amount as someone needed medical care, priest says the same thing, part donated to the church. Lawyer says he put in the full amount, he wrote a check.
 
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Joined
Jun 26, 2003
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Illinois
It's part of an old joke about the priest, doctor and lawyer. Guy gives each one of them a 1/3 to put in his coffin. After the funeral at the bar, doctor confesses it wasn't the full amount as someone needed medical care, priest says the same thing, part donated to the church. Lawyer says he put in the full amount, he wrote a check.

Along those lines, a Protestant Pastor, a Catholic Priest and a Rabbi where having lunch and they were discussing how much of the offering was given to God.

The Pastor said he draws a circle on the ground, then throws the money into the air. Whatever lands in the circle is given to God and whatever lands outside is his salary.

The Priest says he has a similar approach. The only difference being the money that lands outside the circle goes to God and inside the circle is his salary.

The Rabbi says he too has a similar approach. He throws the money into the air. Whatever God catches, he can keep. Whatever lands on the ground goes to the Rabbi.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
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15,685
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North Carolina
I will let my son decide. He probably won't do any wrenching, but i may have grandchildren soon, i'd rather a family member like a grandchild have them, only if they use them.
 
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