Being the executor of an estate or an estate trustee can be an emotional experience.
Processing grief, coupled with the responsibilities of closing a lifetime of memories, can feel overwhelming, distressing, and at times, impossible. It’s understandable if you don’t know where to begin.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to lighten the burden of the bureaucracy, as well as the physical and emotional labor that’s involved in handling an estate cleanout. This will leave you time to focus on the things that matter: your mental and emotional health, and the well-being of your loved ones.
Here Are Six Prime Ideas To Streamline The Handling Of An Estate
1. Monitor the Home
Should a house or apartment be left empty, make sure that you collect mail, turn off the water (this is especially important in the winter to prevent bursting pipes), empty kitchen cabinets and the fridge of perishables (donate them to a food bank if you have the capacity), take out the trash, and generally make sure the house is in good shape to be left empty for a period of time.
If you have a connection with the neighbors, reach out to them. Pass along your phone number and ask that they contact you should they spot any unusual activity. Leave a key with them if you feel comfortable doing so.
Having someone nearby keeping an eye on the place will minimize how often you’ll need to check back.
2. Connect with a Realtor
While there are many blogs and articles online touting the financial benefits of selling your own home, it’s a complicated process. There’s a reason it takes a year to become a certified real estate agent and why there’s ongoing training once you’re fully certified.
With that in mind, don’t add additional stress to your plate. There are many excellent reasons to use a real estate agent who has your best interests at heart. Ask for realtor recommendations from friends and family.
3. Pull Together Paperwork
While in the home, collect any pertinent information, including:
- Banking information (including statements, account details, and tax papers).
- A copy of the will and any surveys if there’s property involved.
- Birth and marriage certificates.
- Any insurance information, including home, car, and life insurance.
- Vehicle paperwork (such as proof of ownership).
Keep all this paperwork together in a binder for easy referral.
4. Assist Any Pets
Pets can be overlooked in the writing of a will. Find someone who’s able to welcome a pet into their home. If nobody in the family is willing to provide a home for a furry or feathered friend, reach out to a local rescue and explain the situation.
Rescues can help you find a temporary foster home, taking the weight from your shoulders. If necessary, money from the estate can be set aside to look after the pet.
5. Ask for Help
Making funeral arrangements is bound to be a distressing stage in handling an estate. You don’t need to do this alone; if you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask a friend or family member to go with you to make plans. Your loved ones will want to help. Let them do so — delegate tasks, such as connecting with acquaintances to inform them of funeral arrangements.
6. Work with an Estate Cleanout Service
As you prepare an estate for sale, consider partnering with an estate cleanout service. Professional organizers like these will be able to assist you in packing up the home with ease.
The finest estate cleanout services will coordinate packing materials; help you in packing and organizing the home’s contents; facilitate the hiring of transport vans; clean the home for staging; and work with you to sell, donate and/or dispose of items.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to personal and professional connections if you’ve been left in charge of an estate. It’s a heady, overwhelming, sensitive process: there’s no need to go it alone.