Question:  I am serving as a Trustee for my recently deceased aunt.  With respect to her residence, what types of things should I consider doing initially?

Answer:  There are a whole host of things, but among some of the more important, you should consider if a residence will be vacant for an extended time:

  1. Changing locks;
  2. Making a detailed inventory of valuables and keeping them stored safely;
  3. Installing an inexpensive security system (which will dial out to  security agency in the event of a break in);
  4. Monitoring pipes if in a colder climate;
  5. Requesting mail be forwarded;
  6. Halting newspaper deliveries;
  7. Advising homeowner’s insurance agent of the vacancy and make sure property is adequately insured;
  8. Arranging for condo and/or coop fees to be paid on a regular basis.
  9. Figuring out whether to keep utilities on or off.

Also, while seeming obvious, do not forget to check: To see if there are perishable items in the residence or in storage and address them accordingly; If there are pets or other animals that need care and/or homes.; Whether property and casualty insurance coverage continues on personal effects, motor vehicles and items in storage.

Comment:  If you are a Trustee, it is advisable to seek assistance from a professional who can help you navigate issues that arise when taking on the responsibility of a fiduciary.