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Helping People Age with Dignity

Don’t forget your personal property when planning your estate

Oftentimes, the main purpose of estate planning is to maximize the value of your estate for your heirs. However, the process serves other important purposes as well, including taking away uncertainty and leaving a lasting presence on those you love.

That’s why in addition to focusing on the big-ticket assets that make up your estate, you should also focus on the sentimental items such as your art collection, antiques, collectables and family heirlooms. While these items might not have the same financial worth as some of your other assets, they certainly mean a lot to those who care about you. 

How to plan for the distribution of your personal property

As you may already know, you can dictate how you’d like your personal property distributed in an addendum to your will, sometimes called a “personal property memorandum.” The personal property memorandum is usually quite informal and consists of a list of tangible items with the same of the person who you’d like to get each item.

Your estate planning attorney probably has a form that he or she can give you to use for these purposes, and the nice thing is that you can change your designations whenever you want, so long as you sign it.

If you include all of your personal property designations in your will, you will need to redo your will if you change your mind about who should get what. However, keep in mind that your will needs to refer to this document, and your will has certain formalities that must be met, such as signing in front of a witness.

Finally, another benefit of dictating how you’d like your tangible property to be distributed is that it can prevent conflict from arising among your heirs. For example, if you fail to determine who gets what, your children, grandchildren or other heirs could end up fighting over their favorite items.

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