Handing the disposition of your genealogical materials is not just as simple as “putting a clause in your will.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind when “donating your genealogical materials via a will.”

Make certain the recipient knows about the gift and is not simply going to put the materials on the curb when garbage day arrives. Just because they give you something does not mean they have to keep it. People can refuse a bequest and gifts in a will that are not easily convertible to cash have a higher chance of being refused.

If your papers are going to a library or other facility, contact them beforehand to make certain they are able to receive and maintain the materials. They could refuse all or part of your gift. Having boxes of unorganized materials (particularly copies of records that are already available elsewhere) increase the chance the gift is refused. Not all facilities have the financial capabilities to maintain collections that are given to them. What happens to the materials if the facility has financial challenges and has to close?

The court or your executor may not be as concerned with boxes of papers in your attic or basement as they are with your financial affairs–even if those boxes are mentioned in the will.

Preservation of your genealogical materials is not as simple as “making a clause” in your will and nothing more. Preservation is a task that needs to be attended to while you are living and able to engage in that task. Seek out those who you know would be interested in what you have acquired over the years. Find archives, libraries, etc. that would be willing to receive part or all of your collection. Consider leaving a financial gift to those organizations along with your materials.

Be more engaged in preservation than simply putting a paragraph in your will.



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