Dealing with Property after Death

Lounge furnitureWhen someone dies, there are many things to sort out. There are the immediate emotional things like notifying people and making funeral arrangements, but there are also the longer term things to think about. If you’re lucky, your loved one has a made a will and so much of exactly what they want to happen will be known. However, there are still things that are more complex to deal with that take time to sort out; bank accounts, insurance policies, pensions and what to do with any property, to name but a few. Sadly, decisions about all these things have to be made when people are already at a time of personal distress.

There is some great help here about the steps to take when someone dies and there will be many people to notify officially. Each will need confirmation of certain personal details and this checklist of the most commonly asked for information may help.

Once the wheels are set in motion regarding the bank and insurance etc. you will need to consider the property (if there is one) and the belongings. This can be one of the most emotional times. If there is a property, the financial situation may well dictate whether it’s sold or kept. If it’s rented, you’ll have the landlord to deal with. Whatever the property situation, you will also need to decide what to do with the contents and the personal belongings inside it.

There may be some possessions that will be distributed via the will; the rest will be down to the executors to deal with as appropriate. There are some companies that offer to come in and clear everything for you, but you need to consider very carefully taking this option because once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Whilst it can be difficult, clearing a property can also be very comforting. Taking your time and sorting through everything properly can save heartache at a later date. You may even need to store everything for a while until you feel you are able to start going through things.

If you are able to hold on to the property, you can do this in situ, working your way methodically around the house. And do be organised, work your way around room by room, deciding what to keep, what to sell, give to charity etc. If you are in no rush to sell the property, you have the luxury of as much time as you need.

There may well be items that you need to get valued before making decisions over action, especially if there are collections of any sort involved. If this is the case, take care to avoid any damage when clearing things around them.

If you can’t hang on to the property, you may consider a self storage unit to house everything while you decide what to do with it. Sizes vary which means you can spread things out to sort through them, and even change the size of unit as you go along. Whilst there is a cost to a unit, it is a small price to pay for ensuring that everything has been dealt with in the best way possible, and you are less likely to have regrets later.

“This is something we’re used to dealing with” said Lucinda Dangerfield, co-director of Space Centre Self Storage “For those people who have recently experienced a bereavement, secure storage gives you the opportunity to take a bit more time whilst you consider your next move.”

“We can advise you on how to store the goods and how to protect them whilst moving them in and out of the unit. We can also help you choose the correct packaging to ensure they are in the same condition when you come to take them away as they were when you left them in storage”

If you’ve had to clear a property following bereavement, do you have any advice that will help people at this difficult time?