Self Storage Units After Death: What Happens To The Belongings Of Your Loved Ones

6 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog

With a huge emphasis being placed on consumerism, more and more Americans have absolutely no space at home to store all of their purchases. This is where self storage units come to the rescue. They offer cheap rental space for storing all of the items that you don't actually need. Self storage units have become increasingly popular with over 8.96% of all American households, or over 10.85 million American households, already renting self storage space from a facility somewhere. Your family members and loved ones may have rented a storage unit without your knowledge. Here's what you can do to collect their belongings.

Smooth Sailing for Those with Access

Without your knowledge, your loved ones and family members may have already provided you access to the storage unit and given you information regarding how to access the storage unit, then it's smooth sailing from there on. All you need to do is check yourself in to the storage unit facility, remove all of his or her belongings, and close the account.

Legal Obligations for Those who Desire Access

If your loved ones have not provided you with access, then it gets a bit trickier. Although you technically are not the owner of the storage unit, you will need to pay the monthly rental fee if you want to recover the belongings and avoid foreclosure. Most of the time, you'll want to recover the belongings, as there may be a lot of sentimental items inside. To gain access to the self storage unit, you will need to prove that you are the executor of the estate, and also receive approved legal documentation from the court that claims that you have access to the contents within the storage unit. Generally speaking, you will have approximately 60 days after the deceased's death to file the legal documentation needed.

Once you have gained access, you can transfer the storage unit to your name. If you do not wish to do so, you can always empty out the storage unit and close it down.

You can also choose to allow the self storage facility to foreclose upon the unit. In this situation, all of the contents within the self storage unit will be up for auction. In fact, there are up to 120,000 storage auctions in the U.S. annually. 


Depending on your relationship with the deceased, you may or may not want to go through the trouble of recovering their belongings from the self storage units. Generally speaking, most facility managers are required to send a certified letter to the last known address or call emergency contacts that were provided by the deceased before foreclosing upon the unit. From there on, you should have ample time to decide what you want to do. Talk to experts like El Cajon Mini Storage for more information.