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E. Handling personal items

If you have a lot of personal items you want to give to various family members and friends, you can list those in an informal memorandum that you leave with your will. The advantages of this approach are that it is less cumbersome to prepare the will and therefore less expensive for you, and that if you change your mind you can change the memorandum without having to execute a new will. The disadvantage is that such a memorandum is not legally enforceable. In considering this option you should think about whether your loved ones are likely to abide by your written wishes. (Do take time to write your wishes down. A lot of heartache and misunderstanding may be avoided by doing so.)

If you prefer a list that is legally binding, it must exist at the time the will is executed and the will must refer to it. Your attorney can advise you on this. If you handle small items in this way and you later change your mind or something it lost or broken, you must either change your will or execute a codicil (short addition), which must be done with the same formality as a will.

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