Protecting an Empty Property After Death
25 November 2013 by Anastasia Packman
As an Executor of the Will of a deceased person you have an obligation to ensure that assets are protected and probably the main and most valuable asset is the deceased’s property. An unoccupied property is more vulnerable to damage and theft so there are several steps you can take to minimize this.
First and foremost is the matter of security. Check the property is made secure and locked. If there are small valuables in the property such as jewellery these should be cleared as empty properties attract thieves.
As soon as possible contact the deceased’s insurance company. You should find paperwork in the property but if not, and you do not think the property is insured, you will need to obtain Empty Property insurance cover. If already insured, the company must be informed that the property is now unoccupied as this is a material fact affecting the policy conditions and failure to inform them could invalidate the insurance.
The company may agree to continue the cover for a short period but there will be changes such as withdrawing cover for malicious damage, theft or water damage..You might also have to arrange regular property inspections and keep heating on low especially in the winter months.
Tell the neighbours. Nosey neighbours can be very useful!
Remember to cancel the milk and papers.
Keep the property well lit in the evenings and perhaps consider timer operated lights.
Also keep the garden tidy even if it means hiring a gardener as this will give the impression the property is occupied and also improve the look of it for marketing purposes.