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How do you stop yourself becoming famous after death / posthumously? Diaries, sound recordings etc

(11 Posts)
TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:07

Jojo, how could that be verified, unless the shredding was done in the presence of a solicitor who had looked through the papers to check their contents first? They might also need to check it's not eg tax records.

Do you think you will be unable to destroy the papers yourself?

jojopin66 Sun 09-Dec-12 22:54:18

RE - exexpat "I think many writers, politicians etc have put clauses in their wills asking for certain personal papers or unfinished works to be destroyed"

So in that instance, do the beneficiaries not get their inheritance unless they've destroyed what they've been asked to?

I guess that wouldn't necessarily be practical for me, my beneficiaries may not be able to find "personal papers or unfinished works" straight-off anyway, I guess they may just turn up or be found behind a cupboard somewhere sometime or something.

jojopin66 Sun 09-Dec-12 17:32:41

Thanks cajadelamemoria - an happy to write a letter. I take it, that is the normal, done thing to do. It would not go in the will. And from what your tone suggests, either way, essentially the beneficiaries can do what they seem best fit anyway. My knowledge of wills and how they work is pretty sketchy.

senua Sun 09-Dec-12 12:46:10

I don't know about the legalities but morally I think that it is like a gift, a subject which is often discussed on MN.
If you want control of the item, then you make it clear that it is only a loan and you may want it back one day.
If it is a true gift then you have to relinquish all control, which includes any say in what the recipient does with it thereafter (treasures it, spoils it, sells it on e-bay, publishes it, etc)

I suggest that you think about what you are ultimately happy about: giving up control (so bequeath it) or not (so destroy it before you die). "Conditional" gifting usually ends in tears.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 09-Dec-12 12:31:50

I'm not a will writer but I do have knowledge of the law. You could write a letter to accompany your will, but legally it would only notify your beneficiaries, it would not stop them from publishing such diaries etc. Realistically to stop them ever having the chance of being published you'd probably have to destroy them yourself.

jojopin66 Sun 09-Dec-12 12:17:13

thanks. that's helpful. you actually get some real will-writers and lawyers on these boards sometimes, don't you? it seems to suggest here that you can't do anything really and it's all in the hands of executors and beneficiaries. perhaps the thing to do is to write a letter to be left with the will detailing my wishes. perhaps it doesn't go in the actual will?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 08-Dec-12 15:28:59

I don't think there is, no. Once you are dead it passes to your beneficiaries and they might or might not follow your wishes.

LunaticFringe Sat 08-Dec-12 15:25:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exexpat Sat 08-Dec-12 15:20:44

I think many writers, politicians etc have put clauses in their wills asking for certain personal papers or unfinished works to be destroyed, or kept private for a certain length of time. Normally their executors comply with this, but I'm sure there have been cases where family members have not destroyed documents, because they thought it was in the interests of the public/academics to be able to access them. Can't remember which writers/public figures were involved, and what the legal position was, though.

Really, unless you think the contents are going to be traumatic or embarrassing for your family, who cares? If you're dead you certainly won't...

Wetthemogwai Sat 08-Dec-12 15:13:19

Is this hypothetical or are you secretly famous?

jojopin66 Sat 08-Dec-12 15:10:22

Sometimes what were essentially private diaries like Anne Frank's and Samuel Pepys get published. Is it possible to make sure that you never become famous after death (& in the future) and prevent such things (diaries, photographs) ever getting published. Can you put clauses in wills or can your beneficiaries do what they want? And/or in hundred years, if somebody unrelated just discovers your private thoughts and/or works (diaries or perhaps creative works you've worked on), can they do what they want with it anyway?

(I'm in the UK, but it may be different in other countries - still somewhat interested in what happens there too)

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