The purpose of a will is to outline who you want to inherit your estate after you pass away. If you want everything to pass down equally to a spouse or your children, including a blanket statement in your will may suffice. However, most people have sentimental possessions that have great memories or significant meaning to others – and you may wish to leave those specific, tangible items to other people outside of your immediate family.
While it is perfectly fine to list those items out in your will, if you have many different possessions you would like to leave to different people, it may be easier and more efficient to create a personal property memorandum. Plus, it will be easier to modify if you want to add or change the document in the future.
A personal property memorandum is an addendum to your will. In this document you can list out each specific item and state who you would like to receive it. Sign the document (no witnesses needed) and it becomes valid (as long as the memorandum is referred to in your will).
Personal property memoranda are considered legal in the state of Colorado.
Examples of Personal Property Memorandum Items
You may wish to bequeath a:
- 1986 Kramer guitar to a friend you used to jam with in high school
- Collection of Norman Rockwell 1974 Christmas Collection commemorative plates to your sister’s best friend who loves everything Christmas
- Your lucky diamond necklace to your superstitious granddaughter
- Collection of Coca Cola memorabilia to a distant cousin who is an avid collector
You can leave tangible items such as furniture, art and other household items, but you cannot leave stocks, bonds, copyrights, bank accounts, etc. Be very specific about the gift and put the recipient’s full name and their relationship to you in the personal property memorandum. You may also want to include the contact information for the recipient to make it easier for your personal representative to locate the individual. For example,
- “I bequeath my 1986 white Kramer guitar and matching vintage guitar case to Pauly Mulligan, my long-time friend who resides at 712 Main Street, Albany, NY 12208.”
Make sure that the items included in your personal property memorandum are not also detailed in your will so there is no confusion or contradiction.
The best thing about the personal property memorandum is that you can update it at any time – without needing a lawyer to re-write your will. If you want to change a beneficiary of an item of personal property, add a new tangible item to bequeath or eliminate one of your line items, simply tear up the old document and create a new one. Just don’t forget to sign it.
The Denver estate planning lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC can help you create a will and help you complete a personal property memorandum in Colorado. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.