Step #7: Secure the house

Settling a parent’s estate could take time, and a vacant house could become a target for burglars, which is sad, but true. Along with ensuring that you have the proper insurance, you may want to consider taking the following steps to secure the property before you sell it.

Set aside important documents

Locate and secure any financial and legal documents, including asset (bank/retirement/stocks/bond) statements and life insurance policies. This paperwork may be valuable for settling the estate.

Lock away valuables

Work with the other heirs to identify and secure any valuables – artwork, vehicles, jewelry, books, and so on. Be mindful of potential disputes by documenting what items you locate and where they are stored.

Regularly pick up mail

An unattended mailbox could attract mail theft and thieves. Be sure to make frequent pick-ups, the post office can hold mail for up to 30 days. Or you could forward the mail to a different address.

Change the door locks

Trusted service providers, friends, and neighbors may have obtained copies of the keys over the years, be sure to lock them out. While it’s unlikely that anyone would cause harm, it’s best to limit access to the home.

Check that doors and windows are locked

Any unlocked door or window as an open invitation to trespass. Installing a wooden dowel rod into every window and sliding door track can be an inexpensive deterrent.

Set up a security camera

Setting up a security camera allows you to monitor the property remotely, which is great if you aren’t able to check on the house regularly. There would be a cost involved, as you’d need to continue internet service to access a live feed of the property.

Step 8 of the process is to understand the tax implications of selling your parents’ house.