What a Personal Property Memorandum Can Do for your Estate Plan
When you make a will as part of your estate plan there is a portion that is reserved for specific bequests or items that you want to give to a person. Instead of listing all of your personal property one by one in your will there is a manner that will allow you to give items away to specific people in a much easier way.
A Personal Property Memorandum that is available in most states is a document that is separate from a will that is referenced in a will that allows the maker of the will to dispose of tangible personal property in a matter and time they later wish. this means that when you make your will all you have to say is that there will be a PPM and it will be acceptable. Tangible personal property is property that you can touch such as household items as furniture, but not property with a title, such as a car, or intangible physical items such as a stock certificate or cash. The Personal Property Memorandum can be in your own handwriting or typed as long as it is signed and dated. You can change or update the memorandum at any later time without the need of an attorney or notary public.
All household tangible property that a married couple own automatically pass to the surviving spouse in some states, so it is only necessary to include items on the memorandum that would not go to the spouse, such as a family heirloom to a child. For an unmarried person all household tangible property would pass in the residuary of the will, or all assets not listed as a specific bequest in the will, so it would only be necessary to name items not going to the person listed as the beneficiary of the residuary under the will. You can gift items before you die, but after death items in the house cannot be gifted unless as directed under the will or personal property memorandum. Just because an item was designated verbally, such as a child should get my antique vase, has no effect unless it is included in the will or memorandum. It is important to give away items that have a high sentimental value to a specific person before you die or in a memorandum because these are the items that cause the most family fights even when the items have a small monetary value.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Evan Guthrie Law Firm
Evan Guthrie Law Firm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of South Carolina. The Evan Guthrie Law Firm practices in the areas of estate planning probate wills living trust special needs trusts personal injury accident and divorce and family law and entertainment law.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.