Jerry DelColliano's article in Home Theater Review, "What Happens When Audiophiles Die?" delves into a subject that most of us would rather not dwell on - death. We all know that barring a religion-making miracle; we are all going to die. And when we die our heirs are going to have a lot of gear to cope with.
There are several things we can all do to make our loved ones lives MUCH easier, and during this holiday season, would make excellent silent gifts.
First, document what you own and how much it is worth. I use a spreadsheet that I can update. At least once a year I go over it, adding any new gear I've acquired with its purchase price and condition I also add the sales price for anything that I've sold.
I have a column on my spreadsheet titled "current projected value" where I put what I could reasonably expect to get for a component if I sold it. At least once a year I readjust the prices to reflect current values.
The next important task to make life easier after your demise is to indicate either as an addendum to your will or as part of the will itself, someone who you designate to handle selling off your gear. I recommend a stipend for the task, such as 15% of the value of the gear sold.
Some audiophile's software collections have even more value than their hardware. And while putting together a spreadsheet listing ALL your records, tapes, CDs, SACDs, and other media is not something I do or would recommend, designating someone who is knowledgeable about collectable software to handle our software liquidation in your will's amendments would be a savvy move. Some dealers will be happy to work up a sales agreement before you expire to take effect after the fact.
These are only a few of the ways you can think ahead to plan for the inevitable. The most important thing is to consider how and where all your stuff will go and begin to make plans so it will go where YOU want it to go. Write down any and particulars and include them with your will. You loved ones will thank you for it.