What Actually Is A Memorandum Of Personal Property?

A memorandum of personal property is a document that provides a mechanism for an individual who’s already created a trust or a will to later make additional bequests or gifts of items of personal property. It allows them to make these gifts without having to modify the will or the trust. This is set up by authorizing the use of the memorandum in the will or trust when its first established. Then, the personal property memorandum can be later changed or modified without having to go back to the drafting attorney to make those changes regarding the distributions of tangible personal property.

Does Tennessee Allow The Use Of A Personal Property Memorandum?

Tennessee allows testamentary gifts of personal property. A personal property memorandum is an extension of the trust or the will, which is specifically permitted under Tennessee law.

What Personal Effects Or Property Can Be Included In a Personal Property Memorandum And What Cannot?

A personal property memorandum would include all items of tangible personal property. This includes vehicles, furniture, sporting goods, firearms, and anything else that you can put your hands on. Money in the bank, while being personal property, it is not tangible personal property, so it would not apply. Neither would real property because that’s always included within the testamentary instrument, whether it’s a trust or a will.

Why Not Just Include The List In Your Last Will And Testament Or Revocable Trust?

If you include the gifts of tangible personal property in the body of the will or the trust, over time, when you want to modify that with, it requires you to make a codicil to the will, which is like an addendum. Adding an amendment carries a significant cost. Just getting on your attorney’s calendar and coordinating schedules can be difficult, especially if it’s something that you feel is urgent.

What Is The Proper Procedure Under Tennessee Law To Ensure That The Memorandum Is Upheld By Court?

In order to ensure that it’s upheld, we need to abide by the provisions of the trust and the memorandum itself, which will clearly articulate the detailed information that we’re going to need. This includes the individual who received the items, their relationship to the one creating the will or trust, the testator, and their relationship. Then, we can also indicate whether the individuals who receive that item do so upon the death of the testator or only after both the testator and their spouse have passed away. If we are abiding by the terms of the trust, as it relates to making a specific gift, there’s no reason why the Tennessee court would invalidate the personal property memorandum or set it aside.

What Components Should Be Included In The Personal Property Memorandum?

The personal property memorandum should have a title detailing that it is a personal property memorandum. There should be a short paragraph stating that it’s authorized under a will or a trust that was established on the same day or prior to execution of the personal property memorandum, and then it needs to list the particulars. That information would include the individual receiving the property, the item, the recipient’s contact information, and whether distribution takes place upon the death of the testator or both the testator and their spouse. There should also be a place to sign and date the personal property memorandum.

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