Friday, August 13, 2010

Passing Your Tangible Personal Property

At your death you will undoubtedly own a certain amount of personal property. Your tangible personal property includes: photos, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, furniture and motor vehicles. While some of these items will be of negligible value, others may be of significant value, and still others will be of great sentimental value to your loved ones. In order to keep family harmony, it may be advantageous to leave this property specifically to named individuals or entities.

Failure to plan for these items leads to an uncertain transfer. Your Trustee can be left with the difficult task of selling off some items and apportioning others so that they pass equally to your named beneficiaries. Or, as happens all too frequently, some of those possessions may "inadvertently" wind up with the first person to happen upon them after your death. It happens.

You can make an assignment of this property in your Will or Trust. A better option is to execute a Personal Property Memorandum that is referred to in your Will or Trust. Under Arizona law this can be done at any time (usually after the Will or Trust is signed) as long as the document clearly identifies the tangible personal property and the person or entity to whom you are leaving it; and you sign the document. My office provides you these forms in your portfolio and they are also provided on a CD provided so that you can make changes at any time you choose and without incurring any further attorney expenses.