Personal possessions

If there is a Will, you should check it before starting to sort out personal possessions. The Will might instruct that particular items are passed on as gifts, or that all house contents are to be disposed of in a particular way e.g. sold to benefit a charity.

Emptying a property

There are companies that will do the whole job for you. Their details can be found under ‘House Clearance' in telephone directories. However, many families choose to do some sorting themselves. It can be difficult, but also comforting to distribute the person's possessions and personal items as they would have wanted.

Collections and memorabilia

If the deceased had collections of items or memorabilia that are not specifically allocated in the Will and are not wanted by family members or friends, it might be worth keeping the collection complete. You can arrange for an expert view on selling the items as a set. If the collection is valuable it may need to be formally valued for the purposes of Probate. Some items may be of interest to local museums and clothing, especially dress associated with particular professions or of particular eras may be of use to a local theatre company.

Personal and household goods

Electrical goods, such as washing machines and furniture, can easily be sold by local advertising if family members or friends do not need them or see below for donations to charity.


If someone has been taking care of a pet, you might need to find a permanent home for it. Please call us for details of local re-homing centres.

Local charities

Local charities might be grateful for the donation of items of furniture, clothing and other possessions. These may be sold through their shops or re-used, e.g. to furnish a home for a homeless family.

If you are donating clothing to a charity shop it is often a good idea to take it to a shop some distance away from the immediate family, as it can be distressing to recognise someone else wearing clothing associated with the deceased.

Page Last Updated : 01/03/2010

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