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If you’re like most, you’ve probably considered how you will pass on your family heirlooms or your favorite and most valuable personal possessions like rings, paintings, a grandfather clock, or the kitchen hutch. Questions may arise, like: 

  • “Do I have to write every one of my cherished possessions into my will?” 
  • “What if I later change my mind, wouldn’t I have to re-do my will?”
  • “What if later circumstances affect my decision, such as a child’s untimely death or disinheriting an estranged son-in-law or daughter-in-law?  

Thankfully, there is an easy answer — it’s called the personal property list. The personal property list is like a shopping list, but instead of reminding you what you’re going to buy at the store, the personal property list tells your loved ones who gets what upon your passing. 

Benefits of the Personal Property List

The beauty of the personal property list is its simplicity. The personal property list is simply a separate document that accompanies your will, where you list who gets what household and personal items upon your passing. Because it’s a separate document from your will, you won’t have to re-do your will—or worse, write all over your will—if you later change your mind about who gets what. For example, if you change your mind about who gets that special heirloom ring, you can simply indicate so on your personal property list. No need to see an attorney to make changes to your will.  

Personal Property Checklist

There are a few things to make sure you get right about your personal property list: First, your will should indicate that you have a personal property list. Second, items on your personal property list must be described with enough specificity so as to not cause confusion about what items you are referring to. Third, cash, money accounts, and real property (land, homes, and other buildings) may not be on the personal property list. Fourth, you must sign your personal property list. Fifth, you should keep your personal property list in a safe place where it will be easily discovered upon your passing, presumably in the same spot as the original copy of your will. 

Make sure you incorporate the personal property list in your estate planning. If you do, you will save yourself a few estate planning headaches. Contact an estate planning lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Belgrade, MT, to begin creating your personal property list today. 



Thanks to Silverman Law Office, PLLC for their insight into how to make estate planning easier with a personal property list.