Attorney Estate Preparation and Cleaning
A client has just received word from the executor of the estate that it is time to take care of the home of a loved one who has passed away and get it prepared for resale. The executor then hears from their estate representative that the family will be doing it themselves to save money. After three months, the representative tells the attorney that either they don’t have the time or the task is beyond their abilities. The estate representative asks the attorney for a reference and the attorney goes on the internet to find someone who does estate clean-outs and/or junk removal.
There are three disaster scenarios that can develop from a mishandled estate.
DISASTER REASON NO. 1
“The contractor does not have insurance or the proper insurance to perform the services"
Every contractor claims that they have insurance to do the necessary work. Sadly the client (or the attorney) doesn’t realize that most one man operations or smaller companies do not carry enough insurance.
An attorney specializing in contractor law can spend hours telling you horror stories of lawsuits, ranging from employees suing the homeowner because they were injured in the client’s home to the contractor did not have workman’s comp insurance. Those same attorneys can testify to cases where the homeowners were stuck paying for their home being broken ruined or burned due to contractor negligence. None of these cases were found in favor of the plaintiff because they did not verify the contractor’s insurance policies.
Solution to avoiding Disaster Reason 1: Require that the contractor to supply an updated Certificate of Insurance, naming the client on the certificate. Read the certificate and make sure that they have at least two million dollars in general liability, one million dollars in commercial auto insurance and one million dollars in workman’s compensation insurance. Nothing is worse than having your client paying the medical bills of a contractor's employee.
DISASTER REASON NO.2
“Having an elderly estate representative handle the estate sale, estate clean-out, repairs to the estate and estate sale.”
Attorneys that have experience in preparing the estate after probate will notice that many of their clients are older relatives that may not live in the state of the estate. They will need to hire contractors to:
- Sell valuable items
- Remove unwanted items
- Repair the home
- Clean the home
- Sell the home
The estate clean-out process can be a daunting task for elderly relatives.
Inexpensive one man operations can create dangerous situations. The contractors employees may not have background checks. Attorneys and their clients do not want to be on the news or the internet as the victims of theft or murder.
Finding and managing contractors is another task that creates stress for estate representatives. Having to search for quality contractors to perform the services above is difficult for even the experienced attorneys.
Solution to avoiding Disaster Reason 2: Require that the hired contractor show proof that the owners and employees have had a third party perform background checks. Find quality companies that have the in-house or outside abilities to handle the project, whether it is one part or the whole project.
DISASTER REASON NO.3
“Having a contractor illegally dump items from the estate.”
Taking items or trash from the estate location and dumping them in an illegal location can create trouble for the contractor and the client. Thoughtless dumping can create legal issues at both the state and federal levels.
Sometimes a client receives an astonishing low cost to perform services; if it seems too low, it most likely will not be legal.
There are costs to legally dumping commercial waste, which include a license to haul the items from your client’s location to a dump site and the cost per ton to dump it. There are other costs that are associated with dumping potentially contaminated items, which include paint, chemicals, and batteries.
If a contractor is caught illegally dumping materials with a client’s information on the materials, they can be associated with the illegal dumping of toxic waste.
Solution to avoiding Disaster Reason 3: The solution is very easy. Require the contractor to have proof from the dump site that the items have been dumped. Ask for a copy of the Department Of Transportation license to haul items.
Address Our Mess’s specialized estate clean-out team can assist an attorney and their clients in the cleaning of an estate property. As a licensed and insured cleaning company, their technicians can handle a large scale cleaning project, which many estate cleaning projects entail. After the home has been thoroughly cleaned and serviced, it can be ready to live in.