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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Elderly couple donate life's work - $10 million worth of insects - to university

This story from CBC is a great example of how planning to donate an unusual object will ensure that the object goes to someone who will understand it and value it. In this case, the unusual object is a collection of more than 1.25 million insects worth $10 million. Along with the insects are their display cases, research, and the papers written by the owners about their work.

Charles and Lois O'Brien of Arizona have arranged to donate their valuable collection and research to the University of Arizona. I'm sure whoever has been named as the executor of their wills is going to be deeply grateful for this. I suspect that most executors would look around at a million and a quarter insects and not realize their dollar value. I don't think I would have known without researching. To read more about the O'Briens and their collection, click here.

If you have an unusual collection or object, put some careful thought into where that should go after you pass away. The O'Briens found a university that is interested. I know of other estates in which collections have ended up in museums, libraries, galleries, and private homes. Not all collections are valuable in the monetary sense. Some items are just not going to be of interest to galleries or museums no matter how great you think they are. Maybe your items are best left to a friend or relative who shares your interests.

There's no point leaving items to institutions who really can't use them, so a bit of advance research and discussion is extremely valuable. You don't have to give up your beloved collection before your death.

The attached photo of Lois O'Brien accompanied the CBC article and is credited to Deanna Dent/ASU Now

1 comment:

  1. Insects as an asset class, who knew?

    Good story.

    ReplyDelete

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