Should You Use A Tangible Property Memorandum?

Posted by | · · · · · · · · | Estate Planning

Do you have a bunch of “stuff” that you’d like to leave to certain individuals, but don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of listing everything in your Will or updating your Will as circumstances change? If yes, then a tangible property memorandum may make sense to incorporate or reference through your Will.


Under Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, “a Will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the Will, other than money.” By including such provision in your Will, you can easily update who you’d like to receive your sentimental items (whether that be jewelry, artwork, furniture, collectibles, books/diaries, or other prized possessions) in a separate, generally private, document.


It’s important to note that this separate writing would only work for tangible personal property. In other words, you can’t use it to change real property distributions (home and/or land) or intangible ownership rights like intellectual property. There’s also an exception for money, which should not be listed in a memorandum.


So how do you create one?


First, you need to make sure your Will has the proper provision allowing you to incorporate by reference the separate tangible property memorandum. Then you would write the separate document, referencing your Will and clearly describe the tangible property and intended beneficiaries of said property. You do not need witnesses or a notarization for your memorandum, but you should make sure to sign and date the document. Lastly, make sure the tangible property memorandum is kept in a safe place (ideally with your other estate planning documents).


If you have any questions about tangible property memorandums or estate planning in general, then please feel free to contact Joseph Lento at Perennial Trust by calling (781) 202 – 6368 or emailing You can also download our Free Estate Planning Guide. Thanks for reading!

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