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6 Cost-Effective Ways To Clear An Estate

Clearing an estate can be a costly experience.  Here are some tips that can help you expedite the process, possibly resulting in more dollars to be distributed through the estate. 

  • Locate the key financial documents.  Make your solicitor’s job easier.  Find the last Will, recent bank statements, life insurance policy, deeds, share certificates, tax returns – all the kinds of documents the solicitor will need to complete the estate administration.
  • Divide the physical labour.  It’s a huge job working through a loved one’s lifetime collections, both physically and emotionally.  Distribute the workload between family members, friends & contractors.  For example, have one person responsible for paperwork, another for rubbish removal and another for sorting clothes.
  • Be thorough – even when you’re exhausted.  As stated above, estate clearance is a really tough gig.  That said it is still extremely important to go meticulously through everything.  You never know what’s been hidden and what its value could be.
  • Valuations.  Have furniture, jewelry & antiques valued by an expert.  Not sure if you’ve got an original Banksy, or a replica?  An expert will be able to tell you.
  • Family comes first.  Ask family members what they would like from the estate.  Based on the valuation (see point 4) you will know what the value is of specific items, so the distribution can be done fairly.
  • What is saleable?  Use Gumtree or eBay to sell what you don’t want to keep or distribute to other family members.  Just be realistic what has resale value, and what doesn’t.  It might not be worth the time or effort to go through the process of taking photos, listing, responding to inquiries etc.  If you do decide to go down this track, I really like Gumtree, because of its low or no cost fee structure.

Remember to seek legal advice from the estate solicitor before distributing assets.