Clearing Out the Estate

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Clearing out an estate after a friend or family member's death can be exhausting and emotional work. You need to go through all the belongings and determine what is useful, what is valuable and what needs to be thrown away. You can either do this by yourself or hire an estate sale agent. For a fee or commission, estate sale agents handle the sorting, distributing and auction for you.

Here are some tips to determine whether an estate sale company is reputable and professional:

  • Any estate sale company should be licensed, which means they have legal authorization to provide their services.
  • Good companies are usually bonded. This is a form of insurance where a third party guarantees that the company will honor contracts and agreements.
  • A reputable estate sale company will also provide references upon request and feedback from previous clients.
  • No company should charge you for the initial interview and inspection of the house.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)

Another option for clearing out the estate is the not-for-profit National Association of Senior Move Managers. This national association specializes in helping older adults and their families downsize and transition to new environments as well as in managing an estate after a death.

To find a NASMM member in your area, visit

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