Losing a loved one is already an emotional experience, and having to be the executor of their estate comes with even more added stressors. Not only are you the one having to make all the important phone calls and emails, but you also have to decide what you’re going to do with their estate.
You have many options when it comes to dealing with the estate of a loved one. You can sell, donate, or dispose of their property yourself and amongst your family and friends, you can sell the content as a whole, or you can call an estate services company.
Contact an estate services company can help take the stress off of you as the executor, and instead leave your loved ones property and assets in the hands of someone who not only knows what they’re doing, but does it professionally.
However, as with all professions, there are undoubtedly bad actors in the estate service industry that can end up doing more harm than good. In this blog, we’re going to walk you through how to ensure you’re hiring a competent, professional estate service.
Social Media is Your Best Friend
In the age of the internet, you can find pretty much anything you want, from funny cat videos to mailable glitter bombs, to, of course, estate sale services.
Something you can also find on virtually any company in existence are reviews.
A quick Google search of the potential company you’re looking to employ to handle your loved one’s estate can be incredibly informative. What does their social media presence look like? What about their Google rating?
Read through reviews and comments on all of their social media platforms before making any decisions. You’ll often get all the answers you need on whether a business is trustworthy or shady right there.
Check the Company’s Legitimacy
After you’ve done your social media deep dive into your chosen company, your next step is to determine whether or not they’re a legitimate company. To do this, you should always check to see if they’re a member of their local Chamber of Commerce and are registered with the Better Business Bureau.
First, you should navigate to the company’s website and find out whether they have a phone number and address listed. Of course, we all know how easy it is for scammers to fake local phone numbers these days, so a phone number on a website isn’t necessarily a sign that a company is legit.
Once you have the phone number and address listed on their website, however, you can use that information to your advantage. Call the local Chamber of Commerce associated with the address listed, and ask them if the company you’re inquiring about is a member. They can tell you whether or not the company is a real brick-and-mortar business or a scam company with a fake internet address.
Once you’ve determined that the company you’re looking at is, in fact, a legitimate business, it’s time to check the Better Business Bureau. To do this, simply type the name of the business and their postal code and click search. Scroll through the listings until you find the company you’re looking for, and once you do, you can pull up everything you want to know about them including their rating through the BBB and any customer complaints that may have been lodged against them.
Ensure They’re Insured
Finally, the most important thing to do before hiring an estate service is to ensure that they are bonded and insured.
If you’re unsure what the difference between bonded and insured is, don’t worry, you’re not alone! But it’s quite simply really: “The main difference is that insurance protects the business itself from losses while bonds protect the client that has hired the business for a specific job or project,” explains Embroker.
Essentially, an estate services company that is bonded and insured means that if something in your loved one’s estate goes missing or is damaged throughout the process of the sale, you have legal recourse to recoup the value of that item or items.
To ensure that your chosen company is insured and bonded, all you have to do is ask them. If they are, they’ll have no problem giving you their bond number and the name of the company through which they are bonded. You can then call the bond company with the estate service’s bond number, company name, and the address of the bond holder.
The same goes for ensuring that they’re insured. Just ask them for their certificate of liability insurance, and verify that the certificate has the company’s name on it. If they try to tell you that they’re insurance agent charges them to send out those certificates, or otherwise attempts to give you the runaround, find another company to work with.
We know that this may seem like a lot of work to do in order to hire an estate services company to handle your loved one’s estate, but it’s well worth the time and hassle, considering the other option is potentially hiring an unscrupulous company that may make off with the estate’s assets.
Keep your eyes tuned here for our next blog, which will cover tips for liquidating an estate and explain why estate auctions are better for you than selling your assets on eBay or Kijiji.
If you’re looking for a professional, insured, bonded, and certified real estate service, consider checking out our website, Sunrise Estate Services, for all of your estate liquidation needs.