• Charlotte: +704.369.9977
  • Fort Mill: +803.594.4453
Consultation Request
Share

NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dealing With A Loved One’s “Stuff” After They Are Gone

Taking care of all the “stuff” that a loved one leaves behind is a daunting task. It’s both emotionally draining and physically exhausting.

From a legal perspective, the person in charge of sorting through all the stuff that a loved one leaves behind is the estate administrator named in the estate plan. Whether this person does the actual physical work of cleaning out a loved one’s home depends on his or her personal preferences. Many estate administrators find it easier to hire a professional to come in and handle things.

No matter who is doing the actual sorting, gifting, and selling, the first step in the cleaning out process should be passing on items that are specifically named in the will. If mom willed all her jewelry to sister Sue, get all of it out of mom’s house and in to Sue hands.

Once specifically named items have been taken care of, it is up to the executor to decide what to tackle next.

For many families, the next step is calling a family meeting and letting everyone walk through the home and pick out items that are meaningful to them. If this is likely to cause a lot of strife, consider drawing lots to decide who gets to pick through everything first, or who gets an item that several people want.

If a family member comes into the home and starts carting stuff off without permission it may be possible and even tempting to call the police and charge them with theft. This is a pretty drastic course of action, however, so the family should carefully consider whether bringing charges is worth destroying family ties. Perhaps that person’s share of the estate could be reduced instead.

Either before or after the family has a chance to go through things, items that have value, like collectables or art, may be appraised and sold to generate cash for the estate. Selling each piece, one at a time, via eBay or some similar site my get you the most bang for your buck, but it could take years to clean everything out in this manner. Having a professional manage the sale is often a better tactic even though it costs money.

When all that is left is a bunch of stuff that nobody wants and isn’t particularly valuable, sort things by asking whether they could be useful to someone or just belongs in the dump. Pots and pans and other household items, old furniture, tools, and even building supplies can be donated to local charities that either distribute the items to those in need or sell the items and use the profits to help others. Be sure to keep track of these donations for tax purposes though.

The number one thing to remember when sorting through a loved one’s stuff is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The best way to get through it is to remind yourself that the task at hand is just like eating an elephant — it can only be done one bite at a time.

 


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
January
2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2013


Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



© 2019 Monk Law Firm, PLLC | Disclaimer
1701 First Baxter Crossing, Suite 101, Fort Mill, SC 29708
| Phone: 803-594-4453
13315 Carowinds Blvd., Suite Q, Charlotte, NC 28273
| Phone: 704-369-9977

Estate Planning | Elder Law / Medicaid Planning | Guardianships | Probate / Estate Administration | Special Needs Planning | Veterans Benefits | Business Law | Business Succession Planning

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative