time-731110_1280Have you ever wondered how to leave heirlooms to loved ones without causing a fight? There are several ways to go about this, but some are better than others.

Gifts during life

First, you can simply give antiques or heirlooms to whomever you wish. This ensures that the intended recipient actually receives the gift you want to give them. However, if the items are valuable (usually over $14,000), then you may want to consult with a tax specialist to determine whether any gift taxes will come into play.

In a Last Will and Testament

If you do not want to part with your belongings during your lifetime, then you can leave them to someone in your Will. Your Will can dispose of specific items of personal property or simply outline the process whereby your heirs will divide your property amongst themselves. However, if you leave specific items to named persons in your Will, then you would need to formally update your Will to make changes in the future.

In a Personal Property Memorandum

The Utah Uniform Probate Code allows you to include a clause in your Will stating that you want your estate to be bound to distribute specific items of personal property according to a document called a Personal Property Memorandum.

The real advantage of a personal property memorandum is its flexibility. It can be edited freely without needing to rewrite or amend the Will itself. The only requirements for the memorandum are that it must be referenced in the Will, signed by you, and describe the items designated with ‘reasonable certainty.’

One drawback of the personal property memorandum is that it cannot dispose of real estate or intangible assets like bank accounts and investment products



This article is informational and does not contain legal advice. If you would like to ensure your property is distributed according to your wishes, please seek advice form an estate planning professional.

Content adapted from Mr. Melling’s book: The Utah Uniform Probate Code: A Quick-Reference Guide for Practitioners and Students.