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Including A Personal Property Memorandum in Your Will or Trust

It is not uncommon for family members to argue over dad or mom’s favorite items after their death. Disputes can occur over things such as a coffee mug, jewelry, or a painting. Filling out a personal property memorandum and keeping it with your will or trust will eliminate these types of arguments.

A personal property memorandum is designed to cover who should receive items owned that don’t have an official title record. Personal property includes furniture, jewelry, art, and other collections, as well as household items like china and silverware. Personal property memoranda may not include real estate or business interests, money and bank accounts, stocks or bonds, copyrights, and IOUs.  

When writing your memorandum, it is best to keep things simple. Personal property memoranda generally resemble a list of items with the attached names of the inheritors. It can be handwritten or typed, but should always be signed and dated. 

All items should contain sufficient detail so that argument and confusion can be avoided. Complete contact information, including address, phone, email, and a backup contact if possible, should be included. Do not include items that you have already explicitly left in your will or trust.

The beauty of a separate list of personal items and their planned distribution is that if you later decide to change who receives what, you simply update your current list, or replace the list altogether. You can destroy an old record or maintain signature and dates for each of your personal property memoranda so that it is easy to identify your most current set of wishes.

 A personal property memorandum for your tangible personal effects is a simple way to address how you want your personal property to be distributed. We would be happy to help you create a legal personal property memorandum along with any other estate planning documents you may need. Please contact us at our Forty Fort Pennsylvania office or give us a call at 570-288-1800.

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