Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Is Tangible Personal Property

Tangible Personal Property, or simply TPP, consists of the personal items in a persons estate.  Examples include:

  • jewelry;
  • art work;
  • collectibles;
  • the family Bible;
  • grandpa's hunting rifle;
  • photographs;
  • furniture; and
  • the list goes on.
Often times this items are worth more in emotional value than financial value.  However, they can cause huge disputes during the time following a loved one's death.  Mom's engagement ring cannot be divided into three pieces.  A new owner must be selected.  By doing a will you can take control over the situation. 

Usually an attorney will insert a paragraph into a will that says "I may leave another document, signed and dated by me, that lists my TPP and whom it should to go upon my death".  If created, the personal representative should distribute accordingly.  It is the legally enforceable alternative to putting a post-it note on items saying "to Sue upon my death."

The nice thing about these types of forms is that they can be updated without the assistance of an attorney.  That saves money and makes it more likely that they'll be kept up to-date.  So, if a person inherits an item, makes a purchase while traveling, or downsizes and gives things away....the list can be current without paying legal fees.

Thanks for reading.  As a reminder, February is being devoted to posts defining basic estate planning and probate concepts.  

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