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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leaving a record collection in your will is like bequeathing a minor stately home

When I made my first will, thirty years ago, I asked an old friend to be an executor. I had a lot of records. He had a lot of records. I figured that if it came to it he'd either take them or know what to do. A lot's changed since then. CD made vinyl seem passé. Then CD turned out to be even more passé. The world turned digital, fewer people had space for lots of stuff and my friend moved to Australia.

The other day my son asked me what I was planning to do with it all and I didn't have an answer.
He's far-sighted enough to know that it's going to be a problem. None of the kids are going to want more than the odd souvenir. They're all moving house at the moment and it's clear they don't have the same attachment to stuff we had at that age. No reason why they should. On the other hand they're sensitive enough to know that several thousand vinyl LPs and as many CDs can't just be chucked on to the council tip.

In the light of all the vinyl fetishism around Record Store Day I asked on Twitter whether anyone had made arrangements for their record collection in their wills. A few said they'd said that friends could have their pick. Some had specified that particular records should be left to particular people. That's probably OK if you don't have a massive quantity. The problem with a large collection is it's simultaneously precious and a pain in the arse. Bequeathing it is like leaving somebody a dog or a minor stately home. Not everyone wants the responsibility.