Clearing a Deceased’s property

Clearing a loved one’s property can be an emotional and sometimes daunting task, it can be hard to know where to start. When clearing a property there are a few options depending on how much time you have and whether you feel up to the task. The first would be to clear the property yourself, if the property is relatively small or the deceased didn’t own very much it should be relatively easy to do this. For larger properties or if the deceased had a lot of possessions you may want to look into hiring a professional to clear the property for you, this may also be an option worth considering if there is not an executor or family member nearby that is able to do the work. You could also do a combination of both.

It can be hard to know where to start or how much time and effort clearing the property is going to take. To make the process more manageable you should come up with a plan of action and work methodically.

You should start by clearing any rubbish and other miscellaneous items. Once this is done you will be able to see more clearly what is left to be dealt with. Now you can;

  • Return any medication that you find to the pharmacist for disposal.
  • Identify any items that have been mentioned in the will as a bequest and remove them for safe keeping before the distributing them.
  • Collect and remove items of value for safe keeping.
  • Organise for the family to collect any sentimental items.
  • Collect and organise important paperwork and set aside for probate or safe keeping.

If you are not able to clear the property yourself you can employ the services of professional clearance companies relatively cheaply although it is worth noting that they most likely will not sort through the property for you and separate valuable items, sentimental items and important paperwork. The property would be completely cleared and the contents disposed of. Some clearance companies offer discounts or free labour for clearances due to bereavement so it’s worth checking their website or asking when getting a quote.

Alternatively if you think there are some items in the property that might have some resale value you should look into local auction house clearance services. A lot offer a full clearance where saleable items will be taken to the sales room and anything they can’t sell will be given to charity or disposed of, some even have the option to clean the property for you. The cost can be retrieved from the sale of the items and you may even make a profit.

Clothes, books and other items can be donated to local charities although you will have to deliver these items yourself. Some shops are able to accept furniture that is in good condition and may even have the facility to collect larger items themselves.

There are several online auction sites like Ebay, amazon and gumtree where you can sell all kinds of items, they also offer the option of collection only which means people will come and collect their purchase from you directly.

If you can’t find a buyer or you’re not interested in the selling things online there are also websites like Freecycle, this means you are giving the item away but the person who wants it will come and collect it themselves meaning you don’t need to go through the process of transporting it or taking it to the dump.

Once the property has been cleared if you haven’t along the way it may be beneficial to do a deep clean. Some clearance companies will provide this if asked, but you can also get a cleaning company in to do the work relatively cheaply and quickly. Depending on the condition of the property it is also worth considering applying a fresh bit of paint, replacing damaged carpets and other easily removable fixtures to make it more appealing for buyers. You should consider keeping some items of furniture for viewing purposes to show what the rooms purpose and for scale reference. Once the house has been sold you can sell the furniture or take it to the local dump.

 

Enjoyed this? Read more posts by Final Duties about Probate Advice

Insurance for a Deceased’s unoccupied property

Bequests and legacies