14th JULY 2022
After someone dies, the executor of their estate is responsible for securing any property contained within the estate.
If someone has died leaving a property vacant, it is at increased risk for theft and vandalism. Therefore, the executor should make it a priority to access the property and fully secure it before continuing with the probate process. This article will explain how to do that.
Checking the insurance
The executor is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate insurance policy is in place for the deceased’s property.
You should check your loved one’s insurance to make sure that their property will still be protected if it is left unoccupied for more than thirty days. Moreover, you should check if there are any limitations in the insurance that might cause problems in an unoccupied property. For example, the property is at a higher risk of theft, so you should check whether this is covered.
How to properly secure the property
You must ensure that all doors, windows or other entrance points in the property are securely locked. Be sure to check garages and outbuildings too. Ensure that any alarm systems are working and switch off all other electrical appliances to prevent the risk of fire.
Search the house for valuables such as watches and jewellery, and anything else of note that is written in the Will. Anything that is at risk of being stolen should be held in your possession until it is time to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.
If there are any pets on the property they will need to be rehomed. Often, pets will be included in the Will.
You should also ensure that any ongoing deliveries and subscriptions are canceled, including groceries and newspapers.
In the colder months, you should make sure that the heating is switched on. If the property becomes too cold, the water might freeze and the pipes could break. Remember that the property may need to be sold, so it is important that it is kept in good condition.
Take meter readings when you are at the property. You will need to contact the deceased’s utility providers and give them meter readings until the property has transferred ownership.
You should continue to visit the property until ownership has been transferred to check that it is protected and in good condition.