Saturday, August 22, 2015

Nancy Drew Collecting, Wills & Inheritances - a Cautionary Tale

What happens when Nancy Drew mystery themes come to life? You end up with a cautionary tale for everyone out there - not just Nancy Drew collectors. Read on, I promise, no spooky ghosts or villains with threatening notes to stay off the case or else! However, there is some intrigue that began last year with a strange e-mail...

I received an e-mail that I was receiving an inheritance. My first though, was yeah right, is it a Nigerian princess who wants to stow their valuable bank funds in my bank, they just need my bank account number to transfer the funds ;-) Well, no, it turned out to be a Sleuth member who had passed away sadly and had left a will behind. The will left their Nancy Drew collection to be divided among myself and 2 other Sleuth members. I was rather sad and stunned at the turn of events. The estate though was in disarray due to some financial issues, heirs taking what they wanted and abandoning the house for all intents and purposes, the house having it's own internal issues and lots of other drama. Right out of something like The Secret of the Old Clock in a more strange set of circumstances came the question of, could there be another will? Oh yes...

After months of getting the run around from the executor of the will, I was finally able to get some information--a 2nd will had been found leaving all this member's possessions - TO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Eyes rolling!) Because, of course, cats can read vintage collectible Nancy Drew books ;-) Some of these cats were just wild neighborhood cats with no caretakers--which ones were in the will? Another intrigue. The executor had washed their hands of the situation with the new "will" being found and so myself and the other 2 Sleuths were left without the books. There were issues with mold/etc. in the house too, so I was already hesitant about having books like that as mold spreads, though you can do things to try and kill it. The house was in foreclosure and locked up tight. So, sadly there wasn't much we could do legally except just let the books go.

Well, as it turns out, somehow these books or some of them have made it onto eBay in recent auctions of foreign edition Nancy Drew books. Perhaps the bank auctioned the contents of the home or donated it somewhere leading to its eventually ending up on eBay. It's a mystery!

But the cautionary tale in all of this is that if you have collections of things that mean a lot to you and you want them to go to people or to institutions or be donated/etc.. then WRITE IT DOWN and make it legal--put it in a will, add it to an existing will as a codicil to the will. Or better yet, give them away to people while you still can and your wishes can be fulfilled without any shenanigans interfering after the fact. Find an institution who you can sell or donate items to who would like your collection, and sign paperwork arranging it. If you don't do these things, you might end up victim to a second will that's possibly questionable and also have heirs or friends who don't abide by your wishes either which has happened in the case of another series book collector who passed on and their heir didn't honor their wishes to give away some of their books and collectibles to specifically designated people and decided to sell them instead for the money. Unfortunately, you can't always rely on your family to abide by your wishes once you're gone, so sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands while you still can.

So, my best advice, is to get your affairs in order and make sure you find places for your collections if that's important to you. Now, if you don't care what happens to your collection when you're gone, not a big deal. But if you do, be sure to make plans to avoid headaches for your heirs and others down the road.

1 comment:

Phyl said...

I hope that when I have children that they love old mystery series but if I don't I plan on finding someone, whether it be a niece or some other young person starting a collection to pass mine down to. I don't want my hard work separated and I want my books to be loved and cherished, not just bought to resale! My aunt has given me several of her books over the years because her children never got into them, which was great for me :)