Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Considerations For Vacant Residences

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: 1. Changing locks; 2. Making a detailed inventory of valuables and keeping them stored safely; 3. Installing an inexpensive security system (which will dial out to  security agency in the event of a break in); 4. Monitoring pipes if in a colder climate; 5. Requesting mail be forwarded; 6. Halting newspaper deliveries; 7. Advising homeowner’s insurance agent of the vacancy and make sure property is adequately insured; 8. Arranging for condo and/or coop fees to be paid on a regular basis. 9. 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. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.


Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can connect with Offit Kurman via our BlogFacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn pages.  You can also sign up to received Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.