Casefile Clues

12 October 2011

Don't Wait Until You Are Dead

I'm taking a different approach to those who suggest you include in your will where you want your genealogy papers to go.

Let's be honest. The executor of your estate has your final bills to pay, a variety of accounts to settle up, perhaps a house and other assets to sell or distribute. These things are either worth money or cost money to settle. Those boxes of papers in your attic? Their financial worth--not so much.

If your executor is one of your children who didn't give a care about your genealogy papers when you were alive, how can you expect them to change when you have passed away? If they dump the papers or don't want to be bothered, what is the judge likely to do about it? I'm not certain. Some probate officers or judges may push the issue on your box of papers, others----I'm no so certain about them either.

If your boxes of papers are unorganized, what library is really going to want them? I mean seriously want them and serious acquisition them? Libraries are understaffed as it is and it is one thing to acquire books or other organized materials. Boxes of papers? Boxes of unorganized photocopies from books which other libraries already have?

The Allen County Public Library will copy and bind your materials. If you have something organized, easy to use, then that's fine. I've seen bound volumes of papers that look like file folders simply had their contents copied and bound. It is preserving that person's information? Yes. Is there any reasonable chance I'll want to  go page by page through unorganized copies and computer printouts from Family Tree Maker and other software programs? No.

Call me cynical, but if you want your information preserved after your death, it is up to you while you are alive to organize what you can, in a way that can be used by others and actively preserve it before you pass away.

To think that a clause in a will is the real answer to preserving four drawers of unorganized photocopies is something else.

Just my two cents.