Probate Property Guidance – Cold Weather Guide

During the probate process, especially a long drawn out one, it is important for an executor to secure and maintain an unoccupied house until it can be sold or transferred to a beneficiary.

Our Probate Property specialists, Parkers, have some guidance for executors during the cold winter months.

Simon Gregory MD for Parkers in Reading, Berkshire commented, “Protecting an unoccupied property in the winter can be challenging, as the colder temperatures and potential for bad weather can cause additional hazards. We take the time to advise our Probate Vendors of what to look out for and give them an idea of the safeguards they can take to protect possibly the largest estate asset.”

Cold Weather Guide for unoccupied properties:

*Maintain the heat: Keep the heat on in the property to prevent freezing pipes, 14-15 degrees centigrade. If the property will be unoccupied for an extended period, consider setting the thermostat to a low but safe temperature.

*Drain the water system: If the property will be unoccupied for a long period, consider draining the water system to prevent damage from frozen pipes.

*Check for leaks: Before leaving, check for any leaks in the roof, windows, or doors, and make any necessary repairs to prevent water damage.

*Clear gutters and drainpipes: Make sure gutters and drainpipes are clear of debris to prevent ice dams from forming on the roof.

*Check for pests: Make sure to check for pests such as mice, which can cause damage to the property in the winter

*Keep an eye on the weather forecast: If a winter storm is forecast, take additional steps to protect the property. Check windows are secure and undamaged, secure outside fixtures and buildings.

*Keep an eye on the property: Arrange for someone (ask the agent) to check on the property regularly during the winter, especially after a storm, to ensure that everything is in order and that there is no damage. It can be worth notifying atrustworthy neighbour that the property is empty so they can also keep an eye out.

And…..always secure the property: make sure all entry points are locked and secure, consider using timers to turn on lights in the evening and install a motion-sensor security lights around the property.

By taking these steps, you can help to protect an unoccupied property in the winter and reduce the risk of damage or loss.

Parkers Estate Agents  Jan 2023