As a postcard collector, you are responsible for caring for your collection. As the cycle of caring comes to an end, you are also responsible for determining what to do with the collection after your death.
Yes, you can decide NOT TO DECIDE what happens to your postcards. This is a common path for collectors and results in the collection passing according to your state laws to relatives who are responsible for handling estate matters and making decisions about personal property. With this indecision, you may be adding another burden on family members and forcing them to make quick decisions that do injustice to your collection efforts. Frequently one relative must invest considerable time, effort, and perhaps money to determine the future of your collection. This can create frustration with the situation and resentment against you—probably the last thing you intended in passing your estate to others.
Most collectors would prefer that their treasures be enjoyed by others. In an ideal situation, a single family member or close friend appreciates your postcards, wants the collection, and has a sense of its value. To ensure that you select a suitable heir, consider spending time now showing your collection to family members and gauging their interest. You can then specify this asset and its recipient in your written will or binding directive for disposition of personal property.
Carefully think through the consequences of dividing the collection between two or more family members, as controversies often arise once the collector is no longer around. You can make the distribution of your collection much easier on your heir(s) by letting them know your intentions before your demise and by leaving contact information on knowledgeable postcard dealers who can appraise the collection.
The reality is that no one loves your stuff the way you do. Very few collectors have family or friends who are interested in or want to preserve the postcard collection. In that case, you should consider selling or donating your postcards while you are still around to find them good homes and maximize their value. The timing of that decision can be challenging, but it is important to write down detailed directions for either route before you become incapacitated and to store this information with your other important personal documents.
The Future of Your Collection
Denver Postcard Club