Organising your home life ready for the future
Getting your home life organised now can ensure that your loved ones will be able to quickly and easily access information when they need it.
With such busy home lives, lots of accounts and services and vast amounts of detail that make up our home life – it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here are some areas of home life that you should consider and get organised ready for the future.
What type of property do you have?
Whatever your circumstances, you should plan ahead to make sure you have considered what the future would like like – if you are no longer here. Each circumstance will differ. You need to think about having formal arrangements in place and let others know what important information is available – and where it can be found.
Creating a Sunset Plan using our secure services can help you organise all of these details and documentation in one place.
If your family would continue living in the property after your death, you need to make clear arrangements to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. Ensure your mortgage details and property/title deeds are somewhere your loved ones can access them.
If there are contentious or complicated circumstances, speak to a Legal Professional to ensure that any issues are ironed out and preparations are made for the future. Think about details that other people may not be aware of. Is the property freehold or leasehold? Is there a management charge payable? Are there informal access arrangements with neighbours that are not documented? Getting this detail recorded ahead of time can be a huge future help.
The property may need to be transferred in to a sole name or transferred to a surviving spouse. A Solicitor and the Mortgage Provider can help, but they will need the relevant paperwork before they can assist.
If the property needs to be sold, contact the Mortgage Provider as soon as possible to let them know of your bereavement. Ask to speak to the Bereavement Team for specialist, compassionate advice. Discuss with them the options available, the process involved and any current financial obligations such as an outstanding mortgage and payments that may need to continue to be made whilst the property is being sold.
If the deceased lived in a rented property, you will need to notify the Landlord of the death as soon as possible. If someone will be continuing to live at the property, discuss your options regarding transfer of the occupancy agreement in to a sole or other name(s), if permitted.
If the property will become vacant, you should make enquiries as to what notice period will be required from the landlord. Clarify the arrangements, timescales and property standards expected around returning the property to them. For example, they may require the property to be fully cleared or certain furnishings or white goods may belong to the landlord. Discuss any deposits that may be held and what, if any deposit, will be being retuned to the estate and when.
Consider any financial implications regarding the rental property. The estate will be liable for the rent until the occupancy agreement formally ends.
If the deceased had a claim for welfare benefits to help pay some or all of the rent, be aware that such benefits cease the day of the persons death. In this instance, time is of the essence as the estate will continue to be liable for the rent whilst the property is being cleared. This can add significant pressure to those who are dealing with the property on behalf of the deceased.
Additional properties - Buy to Let or second homes
If the deceased had additional properties, this will also fall to the executors to resolve. You will need to consider however – who would actually know what arrangements are in place for these properties. It can be common now for people to have holiday homes – in the UK or abroad. They may be rented out via holiday websites.
The deceased may own buy to let properties. There will be implications here not only for the estate, but for the practical arrangements and agreements that are in place for the tenants in those homes.
Organising this information now can be crucial to helping others unravel your life one day.
Holiday home considerations
- Property or title deeds – where are they held?
- Any outstanding mortgages or securities for those properties/accommodation
- Any future bookings for the accommodation
- Arrangements or agreements with holiday lettings agencies
- Practical details for each property such as utilities, warranties, bills and useful information
- Holiday park information or rules – if the property is part of a designated holiday home site such as a caravan park there may be occupancy rules that should be noted somewhere
Buy to let or rental property considerations
- Are there existing tenants and occupants?
- Where are their tenancy agreements kept and what are the terms or length of their occupation?
- What arrangements are in place for their rental deposits?
- Notice periods required. If a property is likely to need to be sold as part of dealing with an estate, early communication of these intentions with the current occupants will be important
- Any ongoing property management charges or similar arrangements that others may not be aware of
- Agreements around any furnishings or white goods that are provided
- Practical property details around services such as household and utility bills, landlord insurances and warranty information
How can you organise your household information?
Creating a Sunset Plan can help you with general life organisation by providing a structured place to store and organise all the details that you should have in your household file.
With so much detail in our home lives and lots of services, subscriptions and bills – it can be hard to keep track of everything. Uploading your important practical information to your digital vault is a great way to organise your day to day family life, as well as giving you peace of mind for the future.
Providing household instructions for others to follow
If someone had to step in and look after your home due to illness or death, would they be aware of the following?
Why not create a household file with these practical instructions, ready for when they are needed?
- Where are the house keys?
- Who holds any spare keys?
- What are the security alarm codes?
- How do things work in the house?
- Do you have any service plans i.e. boiler repairs?
- Do you have any warranties on major items such as boilers, windows, electronics etc?
- Where is your vehicle information, keys and ownership details kept?
Possessions and decluttering your home
Getting organised throughout life with your practical possessions can help others after your death.
We have a range of articles that consider how regularly decluttering your belongings, making advance arrangements for your valuables and treasured possessions plus what will happen to your practical items, can help you start to get your home life organised.
Dealing with someone’s personal possessions after a death can be a very distressing task for those who are grieving. Prepare and assist your loved ones by regularly getting your life and home organised for the future.