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Personal Property Memorandum

Family members often end up arguing over mom or dad’s favorite items when that parent dies. Arguments can take place over things like a Cheese Days mug, a piece of jewelry or a painting. To eliminate these arguments, you can fill out a personal property memorandum and keep it with your will or trust.


A personal property memorandum is designed to cover who should receive items owned that do not 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 does not include real estate or business interests, money and bank accounts, stocks or bonds, copyrights, and IOUs.

A personal property memorandum generally resembles a list of items with the names of the beneficiaries next to those items. It can be handwritten or typed but should always be signed and dated.

All items should be specifically described so that argument and confusion can be avoided.  There is probably more than one “ring” or “gun”.  Include contact information for beneficiaries of your personal property. 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.  Jimmy and Susie do not need to know they were “cut out”.  You can destroy an old record or maintain signature and dates on each of your personal property memorandum 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. Schluesche Fields S.C. has a special personal property memorandum form to get you started with your distribution.  We are happy to help with this and any other estate planning documents you may need.

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