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