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Personal Property Memorandum

In California, a Personal Property Memorandum is a legal document that can be used as an addition to your will or revocable living trust. As an estate planning lawyer in Folsom, I include a Personal Property Memorandum in all of the estate plans that I create for my clients. It allows you to make specific bequests of personal property (tangible items like jewelry, furniture, collectibles, and other belongings) without the need to amend your will or trust. Here are the key points to know about creating a Personal Property Memorandum in California:

1. Purpose: The Personal Property Memorandum is used to specify which personal items you want to leave to specific individuals or charities. This document can be especially useful for distributing sentimental or valuable personal belongings.

2. Legally Binding: In California, a Personal Property Memorandum is a legally binding document as long as it meets certain requirements. It must be signed and dated, and it should be referenced in your will or revocable living trust to ensure that it is incorporated into your overall estate plan.

3. Flexibility: This document allows for flexibility, as it can be updated and changed without needing to amend your will or trust. You can add, remove, or modify bequests as your circumstances or preferences change. This is a huge benefit of the Personal Property Memorandum, as amending the will or living trust can often times lead to unnecessary expenses. 

4. Types of Property: You can use the Personal Property Memorandum to specify who should receive various types of personal property, such as jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other items of personal value. The Personal Property Memorandum is not intended for real estate or financial accounts, and also is not generally intended for vehicles. 

5. Witness Requirements: In California, it’s recommended (though not required by law) to have your Personal Property Memorandum witnessed and signed by two individuals. This can help validate the document and prevent disputes about its authenticity.

6. Instructions for Your Executor or Trustee: In the Personal Property Memorandum, you can provide instructions to your executor (if you have a will) or trustee (if you have a revocable living trust) regarding how you want the specified personal property distributed. This can help ensure your wishes are carried out.

7. Keep It with Your Will or Trust: Store the Personal Property Memorandum with your will or revocable living trust in a secure place. It should be easily accessible to your executor or trustee upon your passing.

8. Inform Your Executor or Trustee: Make sure your executor or trustee is aware of the existence of the Personal Property Memorandum and knows where to find it when the time comes.

9. Specificity: Be as specific as possible in your bequests. Describe the items and their intended recipients clearly to avoid confusion or disputes.


Remember that estate laws can change over time, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney in Folsom who specializes in estate planning to ensure that your Personal Property Memorandum is created and executed in compliance with current legal requirements. An attorney can also help you integrate this document into your broader estate plan to achieve your overall estate planning goals. If you have any questions about Personal Property Memorandums, please contact Thapar Law at 916-579-0605 or send us a message

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