Wills: Written Statements

A customary provision in many Wills is an Article which provides that the person executing the Will may leave a “Written Statement” which disposes of items of tangible personal property whether or not specifically disposed of in his or her Will. Examples of items gifted on a written statement are: a ring, earrings, a book, a painting, silverware, golf clubs, watch. The Written Statement is not intended for use to gift major assets such as real property, bank accounts, securities or brokerage accounts or similar assets of substantial value.

Each of the Will forms in this Library do contain a provision for a separate statement or list as provided by statute which permits a testator to gift certain items of personal property to different individuals. A form of Written Statement will be provided with each Will which is printed through the Form Library. You can also print a copy a Written Statement form here, if you already have a Will. The Written Statement should be signed as indicated; as you add items and name the recipients for each item, write the date the entry is made and initial that line. This written statement is to convey items of personal property which are not major assets with substantial value.

There is no requirement that you use a Written Statement. It is simply a convenient way to designate your wish that specific people receive certain items of personal property for sentimental or other reasons.  You can add to the list over time; you can alter it at any time; you can tear up the list and start over; all without the need to revise your Will —  unless property dispositions in your Written Statement have been duplicated in your Will (by making similar designations of specific gifts of property in the Will) and you change your mind about the gift.  In that instance, your Will must be revised to change the specific gift.

Each item listed on your Written Statement should be described with sufficient detail to allow your Personal Representative to identify the item and see that it is distributed to the person designated to receive it.  If no Written Statement is found at death, it is presumed that such a list does not exist.  Often people do not prepare such a list.  The Written Statement is a helpful tool; provided for those individuals who would like to make these designations. If a testator wishes to use the Written Statement, it should be kept with the Will.