When a loved one dies, a long list of things to do is often left behind. From dealing with service arrangements to sorting through their home, it can be overwhelming. If you’re responsible for taking care of a property left behind, consider these steps.

Be prepared.

Having important documents up to date and in a safe and accessible place will make managing the logistics of the estate much easier. Documents may include a will, mortgage payments, financial information, insurance documents and even an estate plan.

Sort it out.

While having these documents organized will help logistically, personal belongings may be left out of the plan. When cleaning out the home of a loved one who has passed away, consider what is sentimental and valuable, and what is not.

First think about how items can be incorporated into your current life. For example, you can repurpose old photographs to create a base for a serving tray, or turn antique silver spoons into a sentimental silver ring with the help of a jeweller.

It can be useful to lean on friends and family who can help you be pragmatic about what’s worth keeping. Give yourself permission to donate the rest to charity.

Seek help.

Cleaning out a loved one’s home while grieving can be difficult, especially when faced with deciding what to keep and what to donate. Set a timeline to keep the process moving, but allow yourself to slow down or stop as needed and seek support from others.

“Grief takes many forms and can affect individuals differently at any point during the grieving process,” says Mark Hooftman, funeral director at Arbor Memorial, a national funeral and cemetery services company. “Don’t hesitate to ask for help or offer to lend a hand to others who are in similar situations. It can make a world of difference.”

While it may be a difficult or uncomfortable conversation to start with loved ones, having an estate plan in place will ease the pain of home cleanouts when the time comes.

The Author: (NC) www.newscanada.com

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