It is important to have a plan to protect your heirs should something happen to you. Although putting together an estate plan may be something easily put on the backburner, having a plan will benefit you and your heirs.You should start with a will or trust document so that you choose to whom your assets will be distributed. If you die without a will, then the state decides how your assets will be distributed and that distribution may differ from what you would have decided. In addition to a will, you can provide detailed information in a Memorandum For Distribution of Tangible Personal Property.
What is a Memorandum Distributing Tangible Personal Property?
A personal property memorandum is a document that is separate from your will but works in conjunction with it. It lists all of the personal property items that you want to pass on to specific people. This memorandum must be referred to in your will.
Your will might include language to the effect:
I give specific household goods, personal effects and other items of tangible personal property in accordance with any Letters Distributing Tangible Personal Property incorporated herein that are to be kept with my Will. Any items of tangible personal property that are not covered by such Letter shall become part of my residuary estate.
Your personal property memorandum might include language such as:
I bequeath the following items of tangible personal property to the beneficiaries below:
“Set of desert rose pattern china inherited from my mother to Jenny Jones, my niece”
“Cherry china cabinet to Jeremy Jones, my nephew”
Items in the memorandum are limited to tangible belongings, like jewelry, antiques, clothing, or keepsakes. You cannot include real estate holdings, money, copyrights, or stocks though.
Don’t include items that you’ve specifically left in your will. The memorandum should not contradict your will. It should work in concert with it.
Clearly describe items so that they won’t be confused to help your personal representative identify the items and distribute them to the right people.
Benefits of a Personal Property Memorandum
Maybe you would really like your niece to receive your favorite gold necklace or your nephew to receive a baseball card collection. The memorandum allows you to avoid listing items in your will thereby making it unnecessarily lengthy, and allows you to make updates and modifications without having to have a new formal will or codicil executed. Tangible property possessions tend to change over time. It also may be a better solution than having your children attempt to divide items among themselves, which could result in arguments and negative emotions. Your children will also likely appreciate the thought that you put into deciding specifically what items of yours that you would like them to have.
Your attorney can provide you with a template for a Memorandum Distributing Tangible Personal Property and answer any questions that you have about completing it.
Do you need assistance with your estate planning needs? Call Whitcomb, Selinsky at (303) 543-1958 for a customized assessment of your individual situation.