One very common question always crops up when doing estate planning: what about my personal items? The answer can vary, but it’s actually very simple! Many people will choose to write it out in a list. They may also put notes on the back of items, or just verbally relay the information.

Written List

If we choose to write up a list of who gets what, we want to make sure we put this list with all of our important papers. I have had many clients write up lists and then no one can find them! I usually also get asked if a list needs to be made of every last item we have. The short answer is no. We can focus on those items that may be desired by more than one person. I also have clients list out those items that have some meaning and are really desired to be kept in the family.

Making Notes

If we makes notes on the back of items, just make sure someone is aware those notes exist! Communication is always key! Ask family and friends ahead of time so that we plan for all contingencies. Discussing these matters helps to avoid any fighting and conflict.

Verbal Conveyance

If we verbally relay the information, just remember that often those words may get mixed up.  The true meaning may not get relayed. Sometimes the fights I see in families center around what they all claim was told to them. This is not a preferred way to relay the information for this reason!

In the end, write or note what items you wish to go to family and friends. Make sure you communicate where this information is being kept, along with all your other important documents. And, of course, if you have any questions, reach out to qualified professionals to help you out!



Related Posts

Can’t I just ask…

This question above is probably the most common thing we hear in the office weekly. Well intentioned folks will call the office and want to .."just ask a quick question".…
Read more

Do i need a…

One of the first things I get asked during a meeting with a client: do I need a trust? This can be a very loaded question, and often requires some…
Read more


By Patricia Nugent An integral component to drafting a will is appointing the person you want to carry out its legal instructions: the executor. Since setting up wills and trusts…
Read more