How to Clear Out an Estate

The first few months after losing a loved one are especially difficult. Adding to the pain of loss and the never-ending to-do lists is the stress of having to clean out their home. Here are a few tips to make this process as stress-free as possible.

  1. If cleaning out their home is not one of the first things on your to-do list, secure their home with new locks as you won’t know exactly who has had access to their home with a set of keys. The last thing you want is someone entering the home and clearing things out without consulting you and the rest of the family.
  2. Before sorting through items to donate, sell, and keep, do some digging to find all important documents like credit card statements, utility bills, paperwork with passwords or usernames written on them, invoices and receipts, bond papers, tax forms, pay stubs, and of course their will.
  3. Take a look through the will before sorting through the home in case particular items are meant to be given to specific people within the family.
  4. Give yourself a set time limit to go through the house and clear it out. Having a vague timeline can make the process drag out which prolongs the pain and stress of it all.
  5. Before letting the entire family run loose and choose which items they want to keep, do a general sort out through each room and put things into piles, like things that should be appraised for possible high value. Things that are worth quite a lot should be sold and added to the estate to be split between beneficiaries.
  6. Hire a professional appraiser to look at any vintage items, art, or other items you think may be worth a substantial amount.
  7. Bring in the family to decide what they would like to keep out of what is left.
  8. Donate any unclaimed items to charities or others in need.
  9. Remove any unwanted items or broken items with a large dumpster rental.
  10. List all pieces of value on Gumtree or hire an estate liquidator to help you get the most for your higher-valued goods.

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