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How To Manage A Deceased Estate Cleanup With Care

How To Manage A Deceased Estate Cleanup With Care

Deceased estate clean up

Managing the cleanup of household and sentimental items from the deceased estate of your loved one requires you to keep certain things in mind, this can be a trying time and a daunting task; here are 10 steps to guide you through the process.


What is a deceased estate?
Approaching personal belongings with sensitivity
10 steps to manage cleaning a deceased estate
Hire a skip for longer and take your time

What is a deceased estate?

A deceased estate refers to the assets, belongings, and liabilities left behind by a person who has passed away. Managing a deceased estate involves the process of settling the deceased person’s affairs, distributing their assets to beneficiaries, and addressing any outstanding debts or obligations. This process is often facilitated by the executor named in the deceased person’s will.

Probate is the legal process of proving that a will is valid. Once Probate is granted, an executor has 12 months to settle the deceased estate.

Approaching personal belongings with sensitivity

Sensitivity while clearing the estate of a loved one involves taking the time to listen and appreciate the unique stories behind certain possessions. If you are clearing the house with the family members and friends of your loved one be mindful and gentle – it requires empathy and acknowledgement of the significance that some items may carry for different people.

10 steps to manage cleaning a deceased estate

1. Identify valuables and sentimental items

Before disposing of anything, identify valuables and sentimental items that the family or beneficiaries may want to keep. Set these aside for distribution or storage.

2. Consult the will or legal documents

Check the deceased person’s will or legal documents for any specific instructions regarding the distribution or disposal of household items.

3. Family and beneficiary input

Communicate with family members and beneficiaries to determine their preferences for specific items. This helps avoid conflicts and ensures a fair distribution.

4. Donate to charity

Consider donating items that are in good condition to local charities or organisations that accept second-hand goods. This can be a meaningful way to give back to the community. Knowing how to dispose of a mattress can be a little trickier; some second-hand stores take mattresses too but it is best to call ahead to make sure.

It is wise to donate clothing or other recognisable items a little further from the vicinity in which the person who has passed away lived, and to be considerate of friends and family living in the area who might recognise their loved one’s belongings.

5. Hold a deceased estate sale

If there are large items unclaimed by family and beneficiaries you may choose to hold a garage sale. This is a common way to have items removed from the property, especially white goods such as working appliances, and furniture that can easily find a second home.

6. Sell items online

Try online platforms like eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace to sell items individually. Weigh up the benefits of this task carefully; selling through online local marketplaces can be time-consuming and requires a lot of admin in the background to respond to enquiries, and set up arrangements for item collection, especially if you will need to travel from your home to the location where the items are.

7. Recycle and dispose responsibly

For items that cannot be donated or sold such as old furniture, consider recycling and dispose of rubbish responsibly. Check with local recycling centres, waste management services, or municipal guidelines for proper disposal methods.

8. Staying objective while managing sentimental feelings

It can be challenging to navigate feelings at this sensitive time.

It may be hard to let go of items that have been part of the life of your loved one for many years. Try not to attach sentiment to everything, hold a few items dear and try to let go of the rest. If you can, take your time with the clean-up and have family and friends help all together, so you can share memories, create new memories and complete the task with support.

9. Engage a professional cleanup service:

If managing the deceased estate rubbish removal becomes overwhelming, consider hiring professional estate cleanup services. These services can handle the sorting, removal, and disposal of items with sensitivity during an already challenging time.

10. Secure sensitive information:

Ensure that any documents with sensitive information, such as financial records or personal documents, are securely disposed of or shredded to protect the deceased person’s identity.

Don’t forget to dispose of e-waste such as old phones and remember to have mail redirected to ensure any outstanding responsibilities are handled quickly.

Hire a skip and take your time with the deceased estate clean-up

It can be a challenge to arrange for all family members and beneficiaries to be present for the day/s you intend to organise your loved one’s belongings. To give you the space and time you need, we can help you arrange long-term skip hire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do with clothes after someone dies?

Consider donating clothes to second-hand shops/ op shops that will accept clothing in good condition. It is strongly recommended that clothing, especially if it is particularly recognisable, is taken to a second-hand shop not in the immediate vicinity where the person who died was living, especially if there are surviving close relatives and friends in the same area.

Can personal possessions be distributed before probate?

Yes, if the items in the home are of no commercial value, and as long as all beneficiaries of the personal items are in agreement, then generally these can be distributed before obtaining a Grant of Probate.

What is meant by a grant of probate?

The term probate means proof and relates to the process of proving a Will’s validity. A grant of probate represents official recognition by the Court that a Will is legally valid and that the person(s) appointed as executor(s) are authorised to administer the estate.

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