Can You Clear a House Before Probate?

The loss of a beloved family member or a friend is and will always be a time full of grief, mourning, and reflection. It is also a time that ought to be dedicated to making peace with the person’s passing.

Unfortunately, laws and restrictions do not consider the emotional state. The chances are that before closing probate, you might not find enough time to reminisce and reflect on life and death.

On the other hand, you might find yourself busy solving legal matters such as collecting items from the deceased person’s house or accepting the inheritance. Although you may not think so now, understanding the probate procedure well will save you a lot of nerves in the challenging times of grief. Moreover, it will prevent you from getting caught by surprise or deceived by a greedy relative.

Here is everything you need to know about the probate – from what is it to when can you clear the house of the deceased. Once you go through all the information mentioned in this article, you may stop worrying about the legal procedures in the unfavorable times.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering, resolving, and distributing the deceased’s assets. Its main aim is to prove that somebody’s last will is valid and genuine.

The procedure starts after somebody’s death and lasts until all their belongings are spread among the right heirs.

In most countries, it is the legal system that determines when and what to do with the dead person’s properties and affairs.

Clearing the House Before Probate

One of the most common issues refers to clearing the house before probate. Most people want to go into the dead person’s house to collect sentimental items as soon as they can. Sadly, in most cases, they are not allowed to do so due to legal restrictions.

Two things can happen with the deceased estate house contents.

In the number one scenario, the house and its contents go to the descendants. They are the ones receiving all the belongings, and they are the ones deciding on those belongings futures.

Scenario number two is that there is going to be a probate home sale through the courts. According to the law, the belongings in the property will be distributed among the beneficiaries, or the personal property will be sold off in an estate sale.

Until the time you get to know what happens with the property and its contents, you are not legally allowed to take or clear up the house.

Clearing the House After Probate

Once the probate closes and the executor is named, you can start cleaning out the house. It may seem easy to do until you find yourself doing it. Most of the time, the process is tiresome, emotionally draining, and stressful.

However, it is not impossible to go through cleaning up the deceased person’s house relatively smoothly. Take into accounts those pieces of advice to make sure you are handling it the best possible:

  • Keep it organized. Section the items into three groups: keep, throw away, sell. Prepare individual boxes with the tags on them to make the task easier.
  • Look for documents. Some of the materials should be kept, and others need to be destroyed. Look for the papers with sensitive information, and decide whether they are useful or not. Reports you should be mindful of include: financial records, insurances, wills, letters, diaries, and photos.
  • Use help. You may feel like you can handle the cleaning on your own, but the task is emotionally much more complicated than it seems. Ask someone to help you. It can be a friend, or you might want to hire an appraiser and estate liquidator.


Death of a beloved person comes with various consequences, from the emotional to the legal ones. To let yourself focus on the prior ones, make sure you know all about the legal side of mourning.

Probation is a standard process when someone passes away. It helps determine what the deceased person’s last will was, what happens to their personal belongings, and who becomes an heir. The most commonly solved issue during probate is the matter of the deceased person’s property. Although you may feel like it, don’t clean up the house of the deceased before closing the probate. Otherwise, you might face some unwanted legal consequences. Once you already have the right to take care of the property and its contents, it is best to ask for help, as the task is usually tiring and emotionally draining.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan