how to clear out an estate

When you are tasked with clearing out the estate of a loved one, the tasks and the stress add up quickly.   These pro tips can guide you through how to clear out an estate.

How to Clear Out an Estate

Understand your obligations.

The very first order of business will be to understand your legal responsibilities and duties.   You’ll want to work closely with a trust attorney or other legal counsel to determine exactly what specifications and records must be honored for legal purposes, and clearly understand what will be required to fully settle the estate.

Disbursing personal property to friends and family. 

You’ll want to adhere to a strict system of fulfilling the wishes of the estate, if they are known.  If there are no instructions, you’ll need to determine the best method of disbursal and communicate your method clearly to all of the potential recipients.  

Clearing the home.

The effort and costs associated with clearing an estate can be substantial. You’ll need to obtain resources and cost estimates for:

  • sorting the contents of the home
  • digitizing and/or shredding documents
  • documenting, shipping or transporting disbursals
  • determining the most beneficial way to auction or sell items of value
  • coordinating and documenting donations
  • junk, trash and household chemical removal
  • deep cleaning and repairs

Don’t forget to factor in the hours of your personal time that will be required to complete the clear out, or the hours of professional services to manage it on your behalf.  In our experience, the average estate clear out can take more than 80 hours.

A downsizing specialist or senior move manager will have all of the local relationships and resources you’ll need to complete the task with maximum efficiency and minimum stress.  Reach out to your local pro for advice and guidance on the best resources in your area.

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