Monday, January 13, 2014

T.P.P. -- An Estate Planning Acronym

Scanning my emails last week three little letters caught my eye, TPP.  Hmmm, what is this organization doing talking about TPP.  Turns out the letters in the email referred to a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, not Tangible Personal Property.  Acronyms are everywhere, and three little letters in one discipline mean something entirely different in another.

Among estate planning and probate attorneys the letter TPP refer to the client or decedent's tangible personal property.  In plain English, his or her stuff.  Items one can pick up and carry, generally excluding cash and vehicles.  Think jewelry, collectibles, furniture, hobbyist gear, etc.  We all have it to some extent or another, and the question often becomes what will happen to it at death.

Should you desire a specific piece to pas to a specific individual, and you have a will empowering you to leave a legally binding inventory distribution list (requirements for vary from state to state) be as specific as possible. Imagine leaving details so specific a stranger could enter your home and know WHAT you are referencing, WHERE it is located, and WHO should receive it.  Compare and contrast the following:

  • I leave my ring to my cousin Deb; or
  • I leave my diamond engagement ring (see attached photo labeled "a") located in my jewelry box in my bedroom to my cousin, Deborah Thompson, who resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Both give the same direction, but one is far more exacting.  We have a much clearer understanding of WHAT ring.  WHERE said ring can be found.  And WHO cousin Deb is.  Sadly it is often the TPP that ignites feuds in the wake of a loved ones death.  Creating a will is one way to take control of the situation by putting in legal terms your desires.  If you have taken this step, push yourself a bit more and be as exacting as possible.

Thanks for reading and remember a blog is not legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for advice specific to your situation.

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