How should I handle items of personal property that I want a specific individual to receive under my estate plan?

When it comes to your tangible personal property, often you may have specific items that you want to go to certain individuals. For example, you may want to leave a treasured watch to a specific niece of nephew. It is important to address these gifts of personal property when creating your estate plan.

5 Tips for Addressing Specific Gifts of Personal Property in an Estate Plan

How should you handle specific personal property items you want to gift in your estate plan? The following are five helpful tips:

  1. Be sure to describe the property item clearly and thoroughly in order to distinguish it from other items. For example, stating “my watch” may be insufficient to adequately describe a specific watch that you want to go to a loved one. Saying “my sterling silver Movado watch engraved with my initials” provides much more information and sufficiently distinguishes the item from your other watches.
  2. Be sure to state whether your loved one must survive you in order to receive the specific item of personal property. If you do want to require that your loved one survive you, state by how many days. For example, you may want to state that your loved one must survive you by 30 days in order to receive the gift. You should also state whether your loved one’s children or another individual should receive the item of personal property if the original recipient does not survive you.
  3. Consider including a picture of the personal property item or a side letter about it in your estate planning file. Again, this helps to prevent any disputes or confusion over what item you are addressing in your estate plan.
  4. Be sure to include the insurance policy of the gifted item if that specific piece of personal property is insured.
  5. Be sure to address in your estate plan the cost of delivery and storage relating to the item of personal property.

When creating your estate plan, there are seemingly endless considerations to address. To learn more, we encourage you to review our free pamphlet, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust.