When your loved one has passed away, it’s important to know what you can and cannot do with their property.

Talk to a Probate Attorney

The very first and more important task once a loved one has passed away is to contact a probate attorney. Depending on the type of ownership of the property and the state where the decedent resided, you need to establish who has the right to sell the property and distribute the proceeds from that sale.

However, all that legal paperwork and possible court dates should not stop you, the beneficiaries, from preparing the home for sale.

Invite the Family

First and foremost, you should divvy up the furnishings and belongings. Some of the family members will find items useful or sentimental and others will want nothing but to avoid hard feelings, allow them an opportunity to make that decision.

Become a Detective

Once all the items are tagged by the family members, the remaining items can be disposed of. But be very careful. The elderly often hide cash and expensive jewelry in the most unusual places. Be sure to look through decorative boxes, jacket pockets, prescription bottles and even hollowed out books and hair spray cans! If you have minimal time to do this detective work, bring everything to a storage facility where you can take your time exploring.

Home Inspection?

Before putting the home on the market, you may want to have it inspected. The home inspector can point out minor repairs to be made that will help to limit the repairs buyers may insist on and bring you the highest price for the home but you can certainly sell the property as is.

Make it Sparkle

Once the furniture and personal items have been removed, Hire a cleaning company to do a deep cleaning of the home. You may want to remove dusty drapes, outdated bathroom decor and any worn carpet especially if it’s covering hardwood floors. Don’t forget the windows. A sparkling house filled with natural light will attract far more buyers than a gloomy one.

First Impressions: The Exterior

Last but not least, be sure to trim bushes, remove branches and leaves, mow the lawn and power wash the siding of the home to remove any mildew. These final tasks should wait until a week or two before the home actually goes on the market to be sure you don’t have to do it twice.

Now, when the judge or attorney has freed you of the legal issues, you may call your realtor. If you have any questions regarding this process or to recommend a probate attorney, please feel free to give us a call.