Create a Personal Property Memorandum

October 15, 2022

Create a Personal Property Memorandum

Most people focus on the larger assets when they work on their estate plan, but it is also crucial to include tangible, digital, hard-to-value, sentimental, cryptocurrency, and personal property when creating an estate plan. Items such as collectibles, antiques, and jewelry that have minimal monetary value may have emotional value to you and your heirs, and these are the items that often cause major family disputes. Personal assets with sentimental value, when ignored in an estate plan, can often be the cause of divisive family squabbles and these battles may even lead to costly litigation. Digital assets can be your photographs and passwords you have accumulated online. If you are considering creating an estate plan, or starting to create a personal property memorandum, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333 or reach out through Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558 to ensure your legal and financial rights remain protected.

Personal Property Memorandum

Detailing each personal item in a Last Will and Testament (will) or a trust can become complicated, and if you ever change your mind about which heir will get that antique coin collection or the coveted red pie plate, you will have to amend your estate planning documents. One convenient way to deal with small items of personal property in a will or trust is to prepare a personal property memorandum. Creating this legal document and referring to it in your will can provide instructions on how to distribute your smaller, sentimental assets. This provision may be changed whenever you wish, without having to officially amend your will.

Colorado and a Personal Property Memorandum

The state of Colorado does allow for a personal property memorandum within the estate planning process. Not every state allows for this particular estate planning document, however, the state of Colorado has eased the burden on those creating an estate plan by allowing the inclusion of this convenient document for those who choose to incorporate it. Visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand how you can utilize this legal document to your advantage.

What to Include in a Personal Property Memorandum

If you decide to create a personal property memorandum, it is important to avoid including gifts that may be contested, such as higher-value items, or gifts given to individuals outside of the family. Items that are ideal to add to a personal property memorandum include jewelry, art, furniture, household items, and personal collections. A personal property memorandum cannot be used to designate gifts of money, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or intellectual property rights such as trademarks.

Things to Consider About a Personal Property Memorandum

There are several things to consider as you begin the process of creating a personal property memorandum.

Refer to the Memorandum in Your Will

A personal property memorandum is ineffective unless you refer to it in your valid last will and testament. Additionally, once created, the document should be kept near your last will and testament and other estate planning documents. A personal property memorandum may be hand-written or typed and printed.

Be Specific

Your memorandum should describe your personal assets and who should receive them. Give as many details as possible, along with the heir’s name and relation to you. If you have already listed a particular item in your will, do not include this in your memorandum. Make the item descriptions as clear and accurate as possible, so one object will not be confused with another object. It may also be helpful to include addresses or other information that will help the executor contact beneficiaries. Visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney from Johnson Law Group can help ensure that all of the assets that you want to include in your

Do Sign and Date the Memorandum

When your draft is complete, remember to sign and date the document. The personal property memorandum written most recently will be the one followed for estate planning purposes. A personal property memorandum does not require witnesses or a notary signature.

Do Make Complete Changes

A personal property memorandum is easy to change, and this is one of its favorable features. Even if you hired an attorney to assist you in drafting your will, you do not need to consult an attorney to change a personal property memorandum. If you want to change your wishes, avoid crossing out old designations on the existing document. Create an entirely new memorandum, date it, and throw the previous one away.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

When planning an estate, do not forget to designate who should receive your tangible, personal property. Items with sentimental value may be low in monetary value but have great emotional value to both you and your heirs. Because these items can potentially cause hurt feelings and family disputes, it is critical to create a detailed list of items and their beneficiaries. This can be easily accomplished through a personal property memorandum, and it is important to refer to your memorandum in your last will and testament or other estate planning documents. Visiting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help advise you in legal matters and help ensure that you minimize future family disputes. Contact one of our experienced estate planning attorneys today at Johnson Law Group to schedule a free consultation regarding your estate. Call our legal team today at (720) 463-4333 or reach out through Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558 to get your specific questions answered.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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