I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating:
Work to preserve your genealogical information while you are alive–do not expect your descendants to do it for you.
You can tell them what to do with it when you are dead. But when you are dead, dead is what you are and they will do as they wish.
You can have a clause in your will as to what is to happen to your “genealogy papers,” but remember:
- Executors can exercise some discretion and probate judges and other heirs are more likely to focus on bills being paid, property being maintained, and items of value being dealt with properly. If they all agree to look the other way while the executor dumps your papers in the garbage on trash day, it could happen.
- You can bequeath your papers to a library, but they generally do not want file folders of material that are unorganized and difficult to follow, stacks of photocopies of pages from books that are easy to obtain elsewhere, compiled material that is unconnected to any local family, etc. They may not have the money to maintain your material and they may be not able to take it. Just because your will says to give it to them does not mean they have to accept it and preserve it forever. That’s not the way it works.
- Garbage day is Friday. Your funeral was on Wednesday.
When you are dead…you are dead.
Plan for what’s to happen to your material when you still have the ability to see that it happens.