I am writing a story about two people exploring an abandoned mansion. I am having a hard time deciding to what extent it is abandoned though.
I've searched a lot of websites about urban exploration and most of the abandoned mansions therein are mostly stripped of their furniture, suffering from structural deficiencies or being guarded by at least one security guard with a dog. However, for the purposes of revealing information about the family who used to live in my mansion I want a lot of the furniture and paintings to be intact/still hanging. I don't want the mansion to be in danger of collapsing or being heavily guarded either, as it would interfere too much with the story.
I was thinking of doing something similiar to the game Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, which has a (semi) abandoned mansion being inhabited by the last remaining family member who is going a bit crazy. The only thing is, one of the major plot points of my story is that the family who used to live there are all dead and gone, but there is a lone crazy guy who hangs about and likes to think the place is his. I was wondering, then, what would happen to a mansion like that when the family line has been broken? Would it fall into the hands of the state? Would it be sold off?
Basically, I am trying to create a scenario in which the mansion and its valuables are still intact but no one is really around to live in it, guard it or claim it as their own. I'm not sure if it's possible/plausible or not, so if anyone could help me muddle through this huge gaping plot hole I would really appreciate it.
The mansion is in Massachusetts (Boston, most likely) and the family pretty much lost their fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The last of the family, a woman, moved to France where she went quite crazy and died in seclusion. The mansion has been standing since 1854.