Wills and Personal Property Memoranda

Here are a few updates to the Executor's Guide concerning memoranda of personal property, which are documents that may accompany wills in some states. Someone who makes a will can use the separate document to leave tangible personal property. In legal terms, tangible personal property means specific items, other than real estate, that you can touch--for example, a painting, a vase, or a chair. The memorandum cannot be used to leave sums of money or intangible property rights like the right to collect money.

Massachusetts allows wills to refer to such a separate document, effective March 31, 2012. (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. section 190B section 2-513.)

Indiana and New Jersey also allow these memoranda (Ind. Code Ann. section 29-1-6-1; N.J. Stat. Ann. section 3B:3-11), though The Executor's Guide incorrectly states that they don't. Our apologies for the oversight.

Virginia renumbered its statute authorizing such memoranda in April 2012. The new statute is Va. Code Ann. section 64.2-400.