A memorandum is a document in addition to your Will that you are able to make a list of items and the people you want to inherit them.
It's important to know that this document merely states your wishes to the executor. The executor is not legally obligated in any way to fulfill your wishes as reflected in the memorandum.
We advise you to hand write this document. You should list the items and the names of the people who you want to inherit them.
A memorandum may take many forms, but below is an example:
Memorandum of: first name and last name
Oak dining room table, chairs and matching china hutch: Thomas Brown, son
12 piece set of Mikasa (pink floral pattern) china: Jessica Hennings, niece
2 carat oval diamond ring with white gold band: Jennifer Brown, daughter
There are some important considerations when deciding whether to leave memorandum:
- If you want a specific item to absolutely go to a specific person, you must include that specific bequest in your Will. If it is in your Will, the executor must deliver the item to that person.
- If you have already mentioned an item specifically in your Will, you do not want to include that item in the memorandum.
- Be as specific as possible when listing the items. This will help your executor know what items you are referring to.
- Be sure that your executor knows how to contact each person you are including in your memorandum. If your executor is not familiar with certain beneficiaries, it would be helpful to list the contact information for those beneficiaries.
For additional information on what should and should not be include in your memorandum and updating your memorandum, see our article, The Basics of a Memorandum.