In continuing our series on the important steps to take after the death of a loved one, one of first things you must take care is making sure your loved one’s home is safe from the threat of theft or vandalism.

This step is extremely important if the decedent was living by him or herself, but may also apply if the decedent left behind an elderly spouse who now feels uncomfortable living alone and needs further protection.

Here are some important things you should do if the house now sits empty:

– Remove all valuables from the home. Make a list of what you remove and where the items went – you will need this list during the will distribution.

– Ensure that all doors and windows are completely secure

– Change the locks or collect all copies of house keys

– Stop all mail from coming to the house to prevent thieves from noticing it pile up in the mailbox. Remember that you will probably not be able to do this without documentation stating that you are handling the estate or have power of attorney.

These are just a few of the ways to properly secure a home after a loved one passes away. For more tips on how to legally close out the estate of a loved one, contact our Orange County probate office by calling (949) 260-1400.