While the immediate results of someone passing are often within the scope of our work here at The BIOClean Team, it is not the only house cleaning after death. After a loved on passes, the task of tending their home falls on the family, and in this stressful time, it can seem a daunting, overwhelming chore. This month on the BIOClean Team blog, we are talking about handling an estate cleanout. First let’s talk about the process before the actual cleaning out.
How to Prep for House Cleaning After a Death
Assuming you didn’t need to have any serious cleaning services, or after they have been done, it’s time to tend to the belongings and home that have been left behind. If you are the one responsible for this, you will want to follow these steps to make it work
Secure the Home
The first thing necessary to doing a proper job house cleaning, is securing the home. You may not be able to clean out the home immediately and you also don’t know who has keys to the residence. To protect everything in the home, change the locks as soon as you can. You might not have the time to fully clean the house, but swapping out locks should be a quick enough job. If your loved one was renting the property, you will want to speak with their landlord about the proper way to secure the belongings.
Track Down Important Paperwork
Before you get into the nitty gritty of tossing, taking, or selling off property, make sure you have located all of the essential paperwork necessary to take care of your loved one’s affairs.
Documents to look out for include:
- Social security card
- Utility bills
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage payments
- Car registrations
- Insurance policies
- Receipts or paperwork for jewelry or art
- Any username and passwords for online accounts
That last one (wills) is going to be incredibly important for the next step so be sure you have it before proceeding.
But… What if There Is No Will?
If in the course of hunting down the important documents you come to find that there is no will in place, your loved one had died ‘intestate.’ That’s just a fancy word for not having made a will before they died but it does put everything in a legal space that varies state by state. Get in touch with a legal eagle in your area to determine exactly how to handle it.
Go Over the Will and Set Limits
The will is going to guide you on your path to cleaning house. If the passing of your loved one was expected, you very well may already be familiar with what their will entails, but it’s possible it is all new to you. Either way, it is incredibly important to read over the will carefully before beginning any estate cleanout.
Most wills are straight forward. ‘I leave my jewelry to Nancy, my oldest daughter. My furniture to Frank, my younger son.’ This sort of direction. But not all are so easily deciphered. You may need the help of a probate attorney. If the will lists an executor, they should be the one to choose an attorney, should it be required.
While you are tending to the will, make a time limit for the process. If you set a firm date and let everyone know with plenty of time to work through it, you avoid a lot of problems that can occur. Remember, everyone is grieving, everyone is going through the process differently and emotions are running high. No one wants to be mean or hard to deal with, but the emotional toll can make me people irritable.
If the home is going to go back on the market following cleanup (should it be a rental, or if you are choosing to do so) having a firm due date can help the process stay on track.
We will pause there for now. Next time on the blog we’ll get into the specific stages of cleaning out the house after a death that mind help give you a guideline to follow. It is an extremely emotionally tough time, we know. Remember to be kind on yourself as you go about this necessary work. If you think the home needs serious, professional cleaning efforts give us a call and see how The BIOClean Team can help.