Chores of inheriting a house

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A guide to inheriting a house

When someone inherits a house, they can take advantage of the financial and personal benefits of home ownership. There are many things to do when you inherit a house, and there is a significant amount of emotional and physical labor involved.

If the house you’ve inherited has many possessions, you might not know where to begin. Here are some ideas that may help you get started organizing.

If you are the Executor of the Will of a deceased loved one, it’s tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a checklist. Myend’s end-of-life checklist will help you ensure that your loved one’s family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Ask your friends and family to help you with your new home

You shouldn’t have to solve this important problem on your own. Family members who knew the deceased can help you decide what to keep and what to give away, sell, or throw out.

But it is not only those who knew the person well who could be helpful in giving you their opinion about the deceased. Friends and family members who didn’t know the person can be helpful, too, because they can offer a different perspective on what’s valuable or not.

Get as many people as you can to help out: The more hands on deck, the faster the job will get done.

Tip: Talk to your family and friends about what they can throw away. Tell them that they should check with you first before putting stuff in the donation pile.

You should follow your loved one's last wishes

When you inherit a home from someone, you might not be able to keep everything inside it.

The first thing you’ll need to do is carefully read through the deceased person’s Will and Estate Plan. If there are any statements about charity or giving specific items to family members, you’ll need to carry out those wishes.

Note: It’s simple. You don’t have to stop your clean-out process to do this step, just set aside items in a separate area or storage unit while you finish the clean-out.

Rent a storage space 

When you’re cleaning, it can be helpful to have a place to put things as you find them. You have two options:

Short term storage

Consider placing a storage box or pod on your property if there is enough room available there. This can help you easily and conveniently load items into storage. Make sure that you get a storage box or pod large enough to hold all of your items.

Long Term storage

Try renting a storage locker instead. These lockers come in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs, and you can rent more than one if you need extra space. The best thing about using a storage service is that the units are usually protected against moisture, humidity, and extreme temperatures. You can always keep your locker if you want to leave things in storage for longer periods of time.

Here’s a tip: Put the items you want to store for a long time into the storage unit or box first. Put any items you plan on giving away or taking out relatively soon.

Decide What to Keep for your home

Next, you’ll want to go through the home and choose the items you want to keep. You can let family members help with this process, if they wish. As you walk through your house, mark each item you want to keep with a Post-It. If you like, carry a box with you for smaller items, like jewelry and silverware. When that’s done, go around again with a hand truck —or ask friends for help— to move the heavier items.

A tip: this is your chance to take only the things you love or want to keep. Your loved one wanted you to have these things, so feel free to take them.

Keep important documents in a safe place

Besides the furniture and other household items, you might find a variety of papers inside the house. Toss out any mail that’s just junk mail and shopping lists. But be sure to go through all of the letters and papers that are leftover. Unfortunately, important documents are sometimes mistaken for junk mail and accidentally thrown out.

If you’ve inherited a house full of stuff, that might include financial accounts too. You’re in charge of managing those affairs and tying up loose ends. You’ll need a lot of official documentation to accomplish those tasks, so hold onto it all.

Final Thoughts

Inheriting a new house can be complicate for many reasons. We have only highlighted only some of the task you may need to complete. Next to protecting documents and collecting valuable belongings, you will have to deal with junk too.

We focus more on that second part of de-cluttering while making money in the meantime in part two of this series. And if you are curious to experience the end-of-life services of the future for yourself, sign up here completely free of charge.

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Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.