There have been many times that I’ve thought about what should happen to my research in the event of my death. In fact I’ve threatened, ok, strongly suggested, that my sons better not throw out my research or I’d come back to haunt them. But all kidding aside; do you know what you want to happen to your research and more importantly have you told anyone what you want to happen? I may not be motivated to write my will but I’m more motivated to have something for my research and don’t forget to include those DNA accounts.
So what can you do? Well you can handle in several ways; you can write a genealogy codicil and have it added to your own will. Or you could fill one a form and leave it in a place that you know someone will find it. Say your safe deposit box.. Or you could give a copy to the important people in your life.
Or you can just verbally tell people what you’d like to happen and hope that they follow your wishes. If you choose this route then you’d want to tell as many people as possible so that more than one person knows.
So who do you leave your research to? If it’s going to be someone in your family then it should go to the person whose eyes didn’t glaze over when you were telling them about your latest find. If you have more than one person interested then you might let each of them know who you’d like to have the research and why, so you can deal with any of the fall out ahead of time. That might be when you decide that doing something legal is your best approach.
You can also leave your research to your local genealogical society or to a society that seems the most appropriate; say where you did the bulk of your research.
You can leave it to your local archives. Keep in mind that some archives will only take written books not necessarily the collection of papers. This is where contacting the archive and seeing what they will take is a good idea.
Whatever you decide to do, I think it’s important that you have a way of letting the people you love know what they should do. They have enough to deal with, so making it simple for them is the best plan. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the countless hours and money that you have spent doesn’t go to waste.
So do a quick google and you will find documents that you can use or just write one yourself. But in the words of a large sportswear company; JUST DO IT!