A Minnesota Statute

My client Claire recently came into some inheritance in the form of jewelry from her mom, and she was worried that she’d have to redo her will to make sure the right people got this jewelry. I had some good news for her. A statute in Minnesota says you have to reference this in the will or the revocable trust. You need this reference in there for this to be effective.

Tangible Personal Property

But let’s assume the right to do this is in there. You don’t even need those items of tangible personal property. That’s the keyword: things that do not have titles. This does not include money or real estate. I’m talking about your stuff, the things in your home. For example, jewelry, artwork, heirlooms, your pots and pans, your furniture, the clothes on your back all these things are your stuff. You can control all your stuff with a written list.

What To Do With The List

You attach it right to your state plan. You keep the list with your will document and revocable trust. All you have to make sure you do is sign it and date it. You can itemize whoever gets what, and that person will receive the items as directed. For example, “Person A” gets my copy of Catcher in the Rye “Person B” gets grandma’s wedding ring.  We have to know what the item is to identify who receives the item.


Assuming your list is specific enough, and you’ve signed and dated the list, it’s an enforceable part of your state plan. Here is the best part — you don’t need a notary and don’t need a lawyer. You can create a list that directs who gets what at the point when you inherit something or buy something new. Again, we’re talking about something without a title. These are the things in your home. So, you inherit some good dishes or jewelry, whatever it might be, from a family member or buy something nice. You can then say so, and so gets this. And then, tear the old list and create a new list with the new items. And that’s where it’s kind of nice. You can do this type of stuff on your own. So my answer to Claire, thankfully, is she does not have to redo her document just because she came into some new possessions. It’s different when it comes to real estate. It’s different when it comes to money, but this is for tangible personal property.