When someone close to you dies, the sad task of clearing out their home may fall to you. Here are some ideas and tips to help make this emotionally difficult job as pain-free and smooth as possible.
Clearing the Home of a Departed Relative
Sort Out Important Financial Documents
The first step to take is to locate all the deceased person's important financial documents that will be required for probate. Items that you will need to keep include a will, trusts, bank and building society documents, pension documents, and insurance policies.
Hire a skip bin before you begin clearing the house. Room by room; throw everything that you are not going to keep into the bin. This will enable you to keep the decks clear as you work, rather than simply shifting piles of clutter around that could then get underfoot.
Some items, such as family photos are irreplaceable. If you don't want to keep them yourself, ask family members if they would like them. Remember too that future generations may be interested to see images of their departed relatives so it could be a good idea to save some of the pictures for this reason. If you don't want to keep the paper images why not scan them and create an electronic album of memories instead?
Hire a Furniture Appraiser
Unless you are an expert, it can be helpful to hire a furniture appraiser, especially if your relative owned any pieces that you think may be antiques. An experienced appraiser will be able to tell you what items of furniture hold a value and what can just be thrown away. An informed valuation can also make it easier when it comes to fairly distributing items amongst beneficiaries of the deceased's will.
Work Slowly and Systematically
It's not uncommon to find valuable items hidden away in odd places around someone's home, and there could be a real danger that you could inadvertently chuck out a valuable family heirloom! Work through each room slowly and systematically, checking pockets, handbags, boxes, and even the back of cupboards and wardrobes for easily missed items.
Delegate Tasks To Family Members
If the house is a large one, the process of estate clearing can be emotionally exhausting. It's a good idea to break the job down into small chunks and delegate what you can to other family members or trusted friends. Take plenty of breaks and be prepared to sit down and enjoy a few happy memories of the deceased, rather than trying to push forward to complete the task.
When someone dies and the job of clearing out their home falls to you, it can be an emotionally challenging time. Use the tips given above to help ease the pain of this difficult process.