What You Need To Know About Cleaning an Inherited San Diego Property
When a loved one passes, there is a great deal of work that must be done to divide up their belongings. Many times their home is filled with not only a lifetime of memories but boxes of old photos, furniture, legal documents, kitchenware, overflowing closets, antiques, and more. The task of deciding what to keep, what to not keep, sell, and donate can be overwhelming to say the least. Because we have helped hundreds of San Diego executors, administrators, and trustees with inherited property, my team and I have seen these burdensome struggles time and time again. Here are a few tips to help you with the process.
- Divide the labor. Whenever possible, ask for help from family and friends. No one should have to bear the burden of sorting through a loved one’s belongings alone. The task will seem much less daunting if you have others to help ease you through the process.
- Be thorough. Important family treasures may be tucked away in closets, stuffed in the backs of untouched drawers, or even hidden in pockets of old clothing.
- Locate important financial documents, It is of utmost importance to locate your loved one’s will or trust. Other critical documents include life insurance policies, deeds and titles to property, recent bank statements, stock certificates, retirement fund records, tax returns, and any receipts necessary for filing income taxes.
- Hire an appraise for some of the inherited property. It may be necessary to have some of your loved one’s personal belongings appraised in order to receive a proper return if they are sold. Be sure to shop around for a reputable appraiser who is within your price range. Ask your San Diego probate attorney or real estate advisor, such as myself, if they have any suggestions. They will be able to steer you toward a professional whom they know and trust.
- Remember to be fair. If there are multiple heirs to the inherited property and the will or trust does not distribute the assets, it is important for the San Diego executor to be reasonable when allocating the belongings. It may be necessary to ask each heir to make a wish list of what items are most important to them. As the executor, explain that you will do your best to divide the assets equally by monetary value. You may not be able to make everyone happy, but you can try to make everyone as comfortable as possible, including yourself.
- Preserve sentimental photos and memorabilia. Have a storage box to place any irreplaceable items, such as photos and letters, when they are found. You will be happy you saved these items when you are ready to walk down memory lane.
- Bring in a liquidator. After you have decided what to keep, sell, and give away, a liquidator is someone who will, for a fee, clear out any remaining items. You may be lucky enough to find a liquidator who will remove the remaining items for little or no cost. However, be certain that you receive a written contract and check references to assure that they are reputable. This may be another individual who would be best chosen through a reference from your San Diego probate attorney or real estate agent.
- Change the locks and forward the mail. You do not really know how many people have a key to the home and, to protect the assets within, it is a good idea to have the locks changed. Consider forwarding future mail to your home address. You never know what important documents are still being sent or who may be unaware of the death and still be sending holiday cards. This will give you the chance to cancel any pending accounts and to reach out to any friends of your loved one.
Consider this task a labor of love. This process is clearly a lot of work but remember, it is the last important service that you will do for your loved one. I have one short story to share about this. When a client’s father passed, the family knew that they wanted to sell the home. They came together like a team to go through their father’s personal belongings. As you can imagine, over the days that they worked together, there were many tears but there was also a ton of laughter. They spent hours reminiscing about their childhood together, the family dynamics, and memorable times with their parents. I admired how they turned a potentially difficult time into another family memory. A recollection that they shared with me occurred during the purchase of the home in Lakeside: the septic tank required locating, draining and inspection. One of their charming stories was that, instead of hiring a septic company to locate the tank, the men in the family “bonded” over beer and digging. These final acts helped to solidify an already strong family relationship. As a parent myself, I could not ask for a better scenario.
No one should ever have to take on a challenge such as this alone. That is why we are here at www.ProbateAndTrustHelp.com and we would be honored to help you. If you want a reputable and professional agent in the San Diego area who has had over a decade of experience helping people just like you to administer a San Diego real estate in probate or trust, look no further; call us at (619)741-0111. I’m Kim Ward, your San Diego Real Estate Advisor.