Some advice about shipping.
Replacement cost for your goods will be about 15% higher in Panama if you buy new. Buying used is a lot less but will take longer to acquire.
If you decide not to ship and you have things that you can't part with (photos, heirlooms, jewelry, artwork etc) you might consider leaving them with someone until you can ship them or bring them over yourself. You can ship most stuff for $4.50/lb and most of the time pay no import fees.
Before shipping keep in mind that any wood furniture may be denied entry or held up in customs for months while you pay storage for it. Sell any of it there.
To calculate if it will be cost effective
1) add up what the replacement cost in Panama is
2) Add 10%
3) subtract what you can sell it all for. Selling it will take several weeks of constant selling and garage sales. You can also find companies that will come in and buy it all for auction but they may not offer much.
4) if the difference is more than $ Protected content than shipping costs then you might want to ship it. But consider first what is involved to ship it.
1) If you want nothing to vanish then it MUST be insured and packed by the shipping company. If you pack it yourself it will not be insured. Every item must be listed. you could put them in piles and have the shipper pack them.
2) You will have to be in Panama City when the ship arrives with copies of your Passport and Residency card and import letter from your lawyer. If you are not a legalized resident then you can not ship anything in at no cost. If you are not a resident then you will have to pay customs, up to 80% duty.
3) prearrange with a shipper for delivery and be on hand when they load the truck from your container.
4) be patient and be sure every box is accounted for and sealed. If not sealed then inventory needs to be taken on the spot. Always a good idea to spend the extra money for really heavy duty boxes and/or crates.
5) Be sure you have a place to live and deliver to or you will have to pay to store it.
As you can see there is tremendous legwork involved and you may want to factor you time and expense of waiting for and shipping things once in Panama. I made a lot of mistakes, paid lots of extra charges and lost a bunch of stuff costing over $1000. When I think about how I should have done it I would not have bothered.
A really good lawyer to use is
Licda. Mayra Lamboglia De Ruzzi Attorney
Calle Manuel Maria Icaza (Area Bancaria)
Edificio Magna Corp.
Panama, Republic of Panama
Tel: Protected content
Cell: Protected content
E-mail: Protected content
We have recommended them to others and everyone is very happy.