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Mental Barriers To Estate Planning: "I can't decide what to do with my stuff!"

So you know you need a will.

Your financial advisers have told you that. Your family and friends have told you that. And you even want to get a will.

But you're not ready.

Your hangup? You don't know how to decide what to do with your valuable personal property.

You haven't decided who is going to get that Michael Jordan autographed rookie card, or your grandmother's jewelry, or your collector's train set. And since you don't know the answers to those questions, why would you spend good money on your Last Will and Testament when there's a strong likelihood you may need to change your mind?

Indiana lawmakers understood this issue when they passed a statute that allows for a memorandum regarding tangible personal property. This type of memorandum  may direct the distribution of personal property (rather than, for example, real estate) to the persons listed on the memo. That doesn't seem too special.

But what is special is that this tangible personal property memorandum may be altered after the Last Will and Testament is executed. That means the testator will be able to change his mind about who gets grandmother's jewelry, even after he and the attorney have left the conference room where the document execution ceremony took place.

And that's not all. If the attorney and testator decide that a revocable living trust is needed to accomplish the estate planning goals, the legislators also provided that a similar memorandum may be used in conjunction with a trust.

That means that you can have a little bit of indecision and still take care of your long term estate planning needs.