Friday, October 6, 2017

Heirs: please do not throw out home maintenance records if you find them...

I listed a Sacramento home recently where the owner passed away earlier this year. The person selling the home is the "successor trustee" of the owner's Living Trust -- the niece of the owner. She came out from Texas to go through the house, clean it out and get it ready for sale.

I visited the house the other day as they were packing items up to move and getting ready for a huge garage sale, and the niece handed me a box. Looking inside, I discovered the owner retained records for EVERYTHING. And by everything, I mean everything. Every appliance she purchased, service records for maintenance, extended warranty information and more dating back nearly 40 years.

We were able to purge a little of it -- for example the central heat and air system she installed in the 1980s was replaced just a few years ago. And the coffee maker she bought in 1996 was being sold in a garage sale and not coming with the house.

Homes that are sold by the successor trustees of a living trust where the owner has passed away or become incapacitated are exempt from many of the typical disclosures given to buyers during a home sale. Often, successor trustees have never occupied the home and don't know pertinent information about the home. If you are ever in the position to have to sell the home of a deceased person, PLEASE do not throw out these records if you find them while sorting out the affairs of the estate. This sort of cache of information is absolutely invaluable to the new owner.

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