When someone dies and leaves a property, whether the property was owned or rented, it will need to be cleared which can be a problematic task. Many people find this this process can be emotionally difficult whilst others may not be in the position to complete the process themselves maybe because of location, physical ability or because there is a probate dispute, or potential for a dispute. It’s also important to be realistic, clearing a property can be a big job, especially if there is no access to suitable transport (a large van) and waste management services.

That’s where a probate house clearance service can help. In this article, we take an unbiased look at the probate house clearance service, explore the different levels of services offered and explain the questions you should ask before selecting a probate house clearance provider.

Whatever the reason, the cost of using a probate house clearance is a probate expense and can be paid for by the proceeds of the estate before any money is distributed to beneficiaries.

What is Probate House Clearance?

Probate house clearance is the process of clearing out a deceased person’s home. It’s important to select a reputable probate house clearance company that understands that it’s a probate property. When clearing a probate property it’s important to log items and to identify items of value and to obtain value estimates which will be used for the purpose for both of probate and inheritance tax and to ensure transparency for beneficiaries.

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probate house clearance

Tasks which can be included in a probate house clearance:

  1. Removing furniture and other bulky items
  2. Clearing personal belongings
  3. Sorting and identifying items
  4. Identifying valuable items
  5. Properly disposing of items in a legally compliant and sustainable manner
  6. Probate valuations
  7. Creating an inventory of all items
  8. Cleaning

Levels of Probate House Clearance Vary Widely

Probate house clearance services can vary widely in terms of the level of service offered. Some companies may provide a comprehensive service that includes all of the services listed above. Other companies may offer a more basic service that only includes removing furniture and personal belongings. It’s important to research and compare different probate house clearance providers to find one that meets your specific needs and requirements.

How probate house clearance companies price can also vary considerably. Some offer a fixed fee whilst others charge per item disposed. Do your research to understand which pricing model works for your house clearance.

Valuations

The probate house clearance company does not necessarily need to do valuations. Many executors or administrators choose to move items of value before the house clearance or instruct a specialist probate valuer to undertake the task before the house clearance commences. This is quite often the approach when someone has been living in the property before the Grant of Probate is issued or if the family want to leave the property furnished so it has more appeal when it’s placed on the market to sell.

Check Credentials

Research the probate house clearance company properly and beware of extremely cheap quotes. Unfortunately, there are many companies that offer a cheap service but fail to dispose of items in a legally compliant way – the last thing you want is a phone call accusing the family of fly tipping when your loved ones items are found dumped on the side of a road.

When selecting a probate house clearance company, it’s essential to ask the following questions to ensure you choose a reputable and reliable service provider:

How long have you been in the probate house clearance business?

If they are a limited company this can be verified via Companies House. You need to ask about their experience with probate properties as it’s important to ensure the process is done correctly to keep both HMRC and beneficiaries satisfied.

Are you licensed and insured?

A house clearance company in the UK may require a waste carrier’s license issued by the Environment Agency. This license is necessary for legally disposing of waste. Additionally, they may need public liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients in case of any accidents or damages during the clearance process.

Can you provide references from previous clients?

Ask for references and ensure the company is happy for you to contact the referees directly. You can also check out online reviews managed by companies such as Trustpilot.

What is the process for identifying and valuing items?

This is a really important aspect of the probate house clearance and it’s important that your service provider clearly outlines the process of identifying items of value. You need to understand who is in charge of this task and what experience they have.

How do you ensure the proper disposal of items in a legally compliant and sustainable manner?

We have already mentioned that house clearance companies require a waste management license. It’s also important to understand their approach to recycling. Does every item that has little value end up in landfill or, do they separate items that can be recycled or donated to charity?

Do you offer a comprehensive service that includes all aspects of probate house clearance?

You need to understand, and have it in writing, exactly what services are covered in the quote. It’s easy to assume cleaning is included but many providers don’t do this which could leave the property empty but still unfit to sell or hand back to a landlord.

What are your pricing structures and payment terms?

Again, it’s important to get a quote in writing so you fully understand what’s covered and what’s not. This document is also essential for reclaiming probate expenses which can be paid for by the proceeds of the estate.

How do you identify and handle sensitive or personal items during the clearance process?

When you ask this question, you can expect them to ask for a copy of the Will, if one exists, so they can identify any items specifically mentioned. They should also ask for a list of any items that the family or executors want located for valuation or sentimental reasons. Of course, there could also be personal items that the family are unaware of so there should be a process to identify, log and discuss these items.

How do they deal with paperwork and documents?

Paperwork and documents form an essential part of the probate process. You need to be certain that if they find any paperwork for example, a Will or financial documents, that these will be kept and given to the executors or administrators. For any documents that are not deemed to have any importance, do the house clearance company destroy confidential waste (anything with a name / address) properly? No one want their identity stolen, even after death.

Are there any additional fees or charges that I should be aware of?

A very important to question to ask. In any industry hidden charges are problematic. It’s important to ask if there are any circumstances in which additional charges will be applied. For example, toxic waste and white goods are more expensive to recycle but the company you choose should be upfront about these potential additional costs which cannot always be included in an initial quote.

Do you provide a detailed inventory of all items cleared from the property?

This is a really important aspect of the probate house clearance service. The list is evidence for both HMRC, executors or administrators and beneficiaries and provides transparency for all involved.

The Benefits of Using a Professional Probate House Clearance Service

Asking these questions will help you make an informed decision when choosing a probate house clearance company; a service that comes with numerous benefits.

Professionalism: Probate house clearance services are experienced in handling the clearance process efficiently and with sensitivity, ensuring that the property is cleared in a respectful manner.

Time-saving: Hiring a probate house clearance service can save you time and effort, especially if you are not in a position to clear the property yourself due to reasons such as location or physical ability.

Legal Compliance: A reputable probate house clearance company will ensure that all items are disposed of legally and in an environmentally friendly manner, giving you peace of mind.

Valuable Items Identification: These services can help identify valuable items within the property, ensuring that nothing of significant worth is overlooked or mistakenly disposed of.

Inventory Documentation: They provide a detailed inventory of all items cleared from the property, which can be crucial for probate, inheritance tax purposes, and for maintaining transparency among beneficiaries.

Emotionally Easier: Dealing with the clearance of a deceased loved one’s property can be emotionally challenging. Probate house clearance services can provide support and handle the process with care and empathy.

Overall, using a probate house clearance service can help streamline the clearance process, ensure legal compliance, and provide peace of mind during a difficult time.

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