Tangible Personal Property Lists

04.16.2015
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Using Tangible Personal Property Lists

Creating a Will is a crucial tool in planning for you and your family’s future. Wills are important to control where your assets will go upon death, to name the person who will care for your property or children, and to state your general wishes regarding funeral arrangements. Once created, amending or changing a Will normally requires a formal amendment document called a Codicil. In Minnesota, however, there is also a more simple way to make or update specific personal property gifts: the tangible personal property list.

What is a Tangible Personal Property List?

A tangible personal property list is a list written on a separate document than the Will that allows individuals to give specific items of personal property to specific people. This does not mean that every piece of property you own must be specifically listed in either the Will or this list. The tangible personal property list is simply a way to transfer specific items that you want to go to a specific person.

What sort of property can be gifted using this list?

This list can transfer most personal property, including heirlooms, cars, artwork, and even pets. The list cannot transfer real estate, money, coin collections, and property used in trade or business.

How do you use a Tangible Personal Property List?

The list does not require formal execution like a Will, so changing and updating the list is relatively simple. In order to be effective, the list must be referred to in the Will, be in the handwriting of the testator or signed by the testator, and describe the item and the person to receive the item with reasonable certainty. This means that the property is described in a way that it would be easy to identify by a third party. It is also important to date the list so it can be identified as the most recent list because later versions will govern if multiple lists are found. The list should be kept wherever the Will is stored so it can be easily located.
Use of this list is not a requirement if you do not have specific gifts for specific people. But if you do, the tangible personal property list is an easy and inexpensive way to make sure that your will reflects your current wishes.
For more information, see Minn. Stat. ยง 524.2-513.

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