Tangible Personal Property Memorandum

While real estate and financial accounts typically take center stage, tangible personal property often holds sentimental value.

Individuals may incorporate a Tangible Personal Property Memorandum into their will to address these challenges. 

This legal document is a practical and effective means to ensure the orderly disposition of personal belongings.

This blog post delves into the nuances of a Tangible Personal Property Memorandum.

Understanding Tangible Personal Property

Personal property encompasses many physical assets, such as jewelry, furniture, vehicles, and personal effects.

Unlike real estate or financial accounts, these items are often emotionally charged and imbued with sentimental value. 

Deciding how to distribute these possessions can be deeply personal and potentially contentious among beneficiaries.

The Purpose Of A Tangible Personal Property Memorandum

A TPPM is a legal instrument that can be included in a comprehensive will.

It serves a crucial purpose:

– To provide clear instructions for distributing specific tangible personal property items

– This will not be explicitly addressed in the primary will document.

Doing so can help minimize potential conflicts among beneficiaries.

This can ensure that cherished possessions are passed on to the intended recipients.

Benefits Of Using A Tangible Personal Property Memorandum

Here are the benefits:


One of the primary advantages of a TPPM is its flexibility.

It allows individuals to update their preferences easily.

This will be regarding distributing tangible personal property without revising their entire will.

This can be especially useful as one’s collection of personal belongings evolves.


A TPPM is often kept separate from the main will document.

It can help maintain the privacy of personal property distribution.

This means that only the designated executor or trustee is privy to its contents instead of the entire will.

Thus, it is a public record once probate begins.

Clarity And Specificity: 

The TPPM should be drafted precisely, specifying the items and their intended recipients.

This clarity minimizes the risk of misunderstandings or disputes among beneficiaries.

It makes the estate administration process more straightforward.

Ease of Amendment: Life circumstances change, and so do our preferences.

With a TPPM, individuals can easily add, remove, or modify items and beneficiaries.

It is without requiring extensive legal amendments to the primary will.

Drafting A Valid Tangible Personal Property Memorandum

To ensure the legal validity of a TPPM, individuals should adhere to the following guidelines:

Identify and describe each item being bequeathed.

State the full legal names of beneficiaries and their relationship to the testator.

Sign and date the TPPM document, preferably in the presence of witnesses, to strengthen its validity.

Integrating The Tangible Personal Property Memorandum Into Your Estate Plan

To effectively incorporate a TPPM into your estate plan, consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

They can guide how to structure the document per state-specific laws.

It can ensure it seamlessly complements your primary will.

Example 1: Sarah’s Tangible Personal Property Memorandum

Background Scenario:

Sarah is a widow in her late 70s with three grown children: Emily, John, and Michael.

She wants to ensure her valuable family heirlooms, such as her antique jewelry and china, go to her children and grandchildren according to her wishes.

Tangible Personal Property Memorandum:

Sarah’s last will includes a provision referring to a Tangible Personal Property Memorandum.

In this memorandum, she lists specific items and their intended recipients. For example:

My antique diamond necklace and matching earrings (family heirlooms) are to be given to my daughter, Emily.

The set of fine china passed down through generations to go to my granddaughter, Lily.

My vintage pocket watch is to be given to my son, John.

The oil painting by [artist’s name] is hanging in the living room to be donated to the local art museum.

Using the Tangible Personal Property Memorandum, Sarah can easily update the list as her circumstances or preferences change without revising her entire will.