The first part of making a specific bequest in your Nolo’s Online Will is to describe the property you want to pass to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you have in mind.
When describing an item, be as concise as you can, but use enough detail so that people will be able to identify and find the property. For example, if you want to leave your guitar to your best friend, you would enter a brief description, like this: my 1959 Martin guitar.
Keep in mind that some property may not pass through your will. Types of property that commonly pass through a will include real estate such as a house or land, vehicles, bank accounts, and personal items such as household items, family heirlooms, art, jewelry or antiques. However, these types of property will only pass through your will if you have not made other arrangements for them.
Any property for which you have made other arrangements will not pass through your will. For example, these types of property will not pass through your will:
Also, many types of digital assets cannot be passed through your will, see below.
Here are example descriptions of some different types of property.
It is usually adequate to briefly describe personal items and group them, unless they have significant monetary or sentimental value. For example, items of extremely valuable jewelry should normally be listed and identified separately, while a drawer full of costume jewelry and baubles could be grouped.
You normally need not get very specific here, unless some object is particularly valuable. It is enough to list the location of the property:
When describing real estate, provide the street address or, for unimproved property, the name by which it is commonly known.
You need not provide the legal description from the deed.
List gifts from financial accounts with enough detail to make the account identifiable, but do not include your entire account number. After death, wills become public documents -- so when describing the account, it's best to replace some of the digits with 'X's.
Instead of fully describing accounts in your will, leave your executor a separate document with more explicit details. You can use your Letter to Survivors for this purpose.
When describing your specific gifts, you can leave a group of gifts to one person (or more than one person) and you can also describe gifts using categories of property. Here are some examples:
Group of items:
Category of property:
If an item is very valuable or could be easily confused with other property, make sure you include identifying characteristics such as location, serial number, color or another unique feature. Example:
"Digital assets" is a broad term that includes a range of electronic records -- from social media accounts, to digital photos, to email, to online financial accounts. You can pass some types of digital assets through your will, but most digital assets transfer in other ways, or not at all.
As a general rule, all digital assets that you own and that have a monetary or tangible value will be included in your estate when you die. For example, funds in an online bank account, bitcoin, or digital music or photos that you own and store on your personal computer. Here is how you can describe those items.
Practically speaking, however, most of your digital assets won't pass through your will, including your email accounts, licensed domains, subscriptions and shopping accounts, and downloaded software.
However, you can and should still make a plan for all of your digital assets—even if they don’t pass through your will. Learn more about Leaving Digital Assets Through Your Will.