The Ultimate Guide to Estate Cleanouts

October 28, 2021

If you have recently been left with the arduous task of cleaning out an estate, whether it is the estate of a loved one or an estate that you have acquired in some other way, you likely have lots of questions as to how to begin. This guide will hopefully help you in finding ways to clean out any estate.

The Most Important Items To Look For

When planning an estate sale, you will be sorting through the belongings of an estate or a family; this most often occurs when the owner of the estate dies. Clearly, something must be done with all of the various belongings and the various property, large and small, and selling things that are not of value or importance to the loved ones of the deceased is usually the most practical option to choose. The actual home or other physical property may also be included as part of an estate sale.

No matter how much random junk might be involved in cleaning out the estate of another person, it is first and foremost important to find paperwork that will be needed to proceed into the search for property and wealth that might have been left behind. Specifically, you will want to search for any financial documents you may need to help settle the estate. Tax forms are something that you need to be on the lookout for. They will be necessary for you or the executor(s) of the estate when filing income taxes for the year following the liquidation of the estate.

Other items you will want to look for include other specific paperwork and financial documents, such as life insurance policies, wills, important receipts, any bank statements that you can locate, deeds for properties, and stock certificates are all very important to locate as soon as possible. 

Before Throwing Anything Away, Consider Hiring Estate Professionals

The task of going through and sorting some estates can become very daunting, even before the actual sorting out has begun. If you think that you will use a professional to assist in the sale of the estate and its contents, you might want to hold off on throwing out items that might be worth something, especially if you feel like you are not an expert on the worth of certain types of belongings. Hiring clean out services is very useful to many overwhelmed people who have been put in the position of figuring out the belongings of another person. 

There are many kinds of estate cleanout services to choose from, based upon your needs:

  • Auctioneers: These services are generally vested in the business of liquidating estates. If you are dealing with outbuildings and lots of construction or farming equipment, or a fleet of vehicles, you might want to find an auctioneer that specializes in that kind of sale. 
  • Junk Removal Services: Services may vary greatly, including hazmat situations such as removal of asbestos or other tricky/dangerous to remove refuse. Depending on the type of properties, and the condition the properties are in, specialty junk removal might be needed, as well as typical garbage removal. 
  • Maid/Cleaning Services: If you need help cleaning the property well after any valuable belongings and any unwanted items have been dealt with by the executor of the estate and the family, hiring a cleaning service to handle that final clean up of the property, prior to sale, might take some unwanted stress off of the shoulders of a family that is likely still mourning, as well as exhausted of dealing with the issues surrounding an estate.
  • Trauma Cleanup/ Bioremediation Company: This is a service that specializes in cleaning up a property that the owner has died in. Often, people might not be found immediately after dying or may have had a traumatic method of death, resulting in hazardous materials in the home. This is both a stressful situation and not something most family members want to have to clean up themselves. These special “bioremediation” services make sure that the property is cleaned up properly, according to laws surrounding the disposal of medical waste and biohazardous materials. This kind of service is very helpful in helping families cope with a necessary but very difficult task that has to be done — a service that can be emotionally traumatizing to family or friends to complete. These companies should provide some kind of guarantee or proof that your property has been cleaned and disinfected to the point that you are guaranteed that the site is disinfected and safe to be lived in again.

Little Tasks That Are Important

After a death in the family, there is a lot to remember following the funeral, especially when dealing with an estate that needs to be handled properly. Here are a few things that seem obvious, but might slip your mind, when launching into the estate cleanout process. After you have located all important documents and paperwork, move on to the next things that will need to be done right away:

  • Change The Locks
  • Forward The Mail
  • Do A Walk-Through: Clear your head, and do a thorough tour of the entire property. Make a basic inventory as you go, so you have a little better idea of how to proceed, and if you will need outside help in planning the estate sale. 
  • Create a Plan (Including Time Limits): Creating time limits on tasks will help you to prevent procrastination. Most of these kinds of jobs aren’t entirely pleasurable, especially when dealing with family members after a death, so it could potentially be easy to blow things off. This is probably also a good time to split up the workload among those who are helping to clean out the estate. 

Sort Through Items For Sale, Donation, or Disposal

Once you have gotten to the point of choosing what to throw away, what to keep, what to sell, and what to donate, you might want to bring in a professional to help you determine the value of certain items you do not want to keep, like clunky antiques. If you are unsure of the monetary value of a lot of the items you are dealing with, a person with expertise in this type of liquidation service might be helpful

Feeling Overwhelmed? Contact a Professional Estate Cleanout Service

At Junk-a-Haulics, we understand that cleaning out an entire estate can feel overwhelming. If you need a hand to help lighten your load, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our professional estate cleanout services in New Jersey.

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