Reality of Inheriting Property by Heather Hilder on May 5, 2021 “It Can’t Be Happening” Reality of Inheriting Property When you are grieving for the loss of a loved one your whole world can feel as if it is falling apart. Dealing with the reality of the situation can be hard. This is because as well as the emotional impact there are usually practical and legal arrangements to look after as well. In my blog, we look at the reality of inheriting property. In 1969 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a book called ‘On Death and Dying‘. She noted that grief goes through five stages, starting with an overwhelming sense of denial and eventually coming round to a feeling of acceptance over a period of time. This cycle has become a cornerstone of efforts to understand what we all go through in similar situations. It can be extremely helpful when it comes to trying to make sense of one that you might find yourself in. Inheritance The first of the five stages is denial. It doesn’t relate to actually refusing to acknowledge that someone has died. It has more to do with a natural mental defence mechanism that tries to delay the inevitable changes that are going on. As Kübler-Ross pointed out, when this stage passes other emotions such as anger are then encountered. Finally, there is some form of acceptance of what has come to pass. However, for anyone who inherits a property there is a risk that the whole cycle can begin again once the initial period of mourning has concluded. The mundane legal arrangements that have to be dealt with, often involving lawyers and the legal process of probate, can mean that the desire to put important duties and responsibilities ‘on the back burner’ might simply be another expression of ‘denial’. Help and advice When you become an estate agent you know that you will be dealing with a public perception that doesn’t hold your career in the highest regard. Sadly the behaviour of a few bad apples sometimes taints the reputation of the rest of us. Of course neither I nor any of my hard working colleagues would claim that helping people to buy and sell homes is as important a job as being something like a front-line healthcare worker. What I do recognise is that all the agents I know do really want to make sure their clients have the best outcomes in all possible ways, not just financially. That’s why I take great care when it comes to helping people who are selling a home due to the sensitive reason of bereavement. At some points in our lives we really need the help of professionals. Trusted professionals can take the load off our shoulders in practical matters. Meanwhile we have deeply personal issues to deal with. A professional estate agent will understand that different people react to selling an inherited property in various ways. In many cases it will be an extremely emotional process that involves family homes and memories. Naturally, this brings far more meaning than simply selling a property. Choosing the right estate agent under these difficult circumstances can be hard. As a ‘people person’ I think that empathy is a huge factor in knowing what kind of help and advice each client requires. Someone who has just suffered a bereavement will have needs that are very different from those of a first time buyer. If you are going through this difficult and emotional process I’m here to help in any way I can – when you feel ready please don’t hesitate to get in touch.