Losing a loved one is devastating, and if you are the executor of his or her will, you will have many tasks to complete, which can be very difficult in your time of grief. One of the harder things you may have to do is clean out your loved one's home. This job can be very physically and emotionally draining, but it should be done as soon as you are able to. Use the following tips to make cleaning out your loved one's home easier:
Ask for Help
Cleaning out every room, drawer, cabinet, and closet can take a very long time, so it is in your best interest to ask others for help. For example, if you are cleaning out the home of a deceased parent, ask your siblings to assist you in the process. In addition to having extra hands available, you can all provide emotional support to each other.
Create an Inventory List
When a person has a will, his or her estate will have to go to probate court before the assets can be distributed. Most large assets, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, and financial investments are clearly listed in the will, but an inventory of household items typically is not. An inventory list of furniture, electronics, art, and collectibles can be submitted to probate court; the judge will ensure that all of the beneficiaries of the will receive what they have been bequeathed. You may want to get together with the beneficiaries and allow everyone to go over the inventory list and amicably agree on who would like what; this type of agreement can then be submitted to the probate judge.
Rent a Storage Unit
It is a good idea to place all of the belongings from your loved one's home into storage until the will goes through probate. This will help prevent any issues with someone taking something that wasn't meant for them, or items getting lost. A storage services company, such as Liberty Self Storage, should have storage units of various sizes, so you should not have a problem finding one to hold everything. If you need to store very fragile or valuable items, you may want to consider renting a climate-controlled indoor storage unit to protect the belongings from hot or frigid outdoor temperatures.
Arrange to Make Copies of Sentimental Items
Family photos are meant to be cherished, and they are usually even more sentimentally valuable after a person passes away. As the person in charge of cleaning out your loved one's home, gather the most important photos and meaningful family documents and make high-quality copies before putting the originals in storage. This will ensure that all of the beneficiaries can hold on to family memories.