Estate sales liquidate the assets of a person. The person in question is usually deceased, but this is not always the case. It is common to hold estate sales using an auction format, but some sales are held using fixed prices in the manner of a garage sale.
In addition to survivors liquidating the assets of a deceased individual, some people hold estate sales to facilitate or finance moving from their current location. Divorces and foreclosures also prompt some estate sales. Estate sales are often good places to find deals on otherwise expensive items, but the quality of items at an estate sale varies widely depending on whose estate is for sale.