How to Create a List to Distribute Tangible Personal Property on Your Death
Make Reference to a Tangible Personal Property List Provision in Your Will or Revocable TrustUnder Washington law, your Will or Revocable Trust may refer to a writing that directs the disposition of tangible personal property (i.e. property that you can touch and feel, with some exceptions). If your Will or Trust doesn't reference the writing and you create a list, the list will have no legal effect. Believe me that when this happens, it often leaves the intended recipient unhappy.
Create Your ListThe list only need be (1) in the handwriting of, or signed by the one who makes his/her Will or Revocable Trust, and (2) descriptive of the items and the recipients of the property with reasonable certainty. Stated simply, if you want your collection of Ford Mustangs to go to your grandsons William III, William IV, and William V, then your Will or Revocable Trust needs to refer to the writing and the writing might say "To my grandson, William III, I give my red 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang; to my grandson William IV, I give my red convertible 1965 Ford Mustang VIN HG2103SS32T; and to my grandson William V, I give my white convertible 1965 Ford Mustang VIN HG9234V0ST1." Make sure that you've either written the list in your handwriting or that you've signed it. It's best to date the list, also, as the most recent list will control over an inconsistent and earlier list. Remember, you can always change the list, and it doesn't need to be witnessed or notarized like your Will.
Store Your List with Your Original Will or Revocable TrustI believe it to be best to keep the list with the original of your Will or Revocable Trust so that the two will be found together when you die. There is nothing worse than grieving loved ones searching for the list that you told them about for years, but used as a bookmark in that tattered copy of The Bridge Over the River Kwai that your executor gave to the library.