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When can I clean out the house after a loved one dies?

Stepping into a parent’s home after he or she has died can be an emotional experience. Adult children in Texas may suddenly see the rooms and their contents in a new light and begin to feel sentimental, or they may see the chore that lies ahead of them of cleaning out the house and preparing it to sell. No matter the situation, it is important for the executor or administrator of the estate to take steps to protect the property and prevent anyone from removing items for monetary or sentimental reasons until the conclusion of probate.

Probate is the process of tying up the loose ends of a person’s legal and financial life. It involves paying any lingering bills, satisfying the estate’s creditors and paying the final taxes of the deceased. Only after these steps are complete can one take the house and distribute the assets within it.

A slow process

As anxious as many may be to deal with their parents’ belongings and move forward with their lives, it is critical that, during probate, they remove nothing from the house unless the court approves it. Even someone who stands to inherit a family home must wait until all the deceased’s debts clear in case it is necessary to sell the property or the assets inside for that purpose. Once probate is over, however, clearing out the house should occur in a systematic manner, carefully processing documents, insurance policies and other paperwork, and canceling any services or subscriptions they will no longer need.

Dealing with real estate during and after probate can be time consuming and stressful. Fortunately, there are Texas legal professionals who can assist with these matters and every aspect of probate. Taking advantage of such resources may allow loved ones to reach closure and move ahead with as little stress as possible.