tangible property in an estate plan

What Is Considered Tangible Property in an Estate Plan?

Some people operate under the misunderstanding that they do not need to estate plan because they really do not own anything of value. First of all, estate planning is much more than how you want things of value distributed upon your death. Second of all, when you really consider things you “own” that would be distributed or otherwise addressed in an estate plan, you may very well be surprised at what you actually come up with. Estate plans address all sorts of property, including those things that may not hold substantial monetary value, but hold substantial sentimental value. Here, we will discuss one type of property that can be addressed in an estate plan and that is tangible property.

What Is Considered Tangible Property in an Estate Plan?

Your estate can consist of several different types of property. It can include intangible personal property. This includes things such as cash, IRA’s, and retirement accounts such as 401ks. It can also include bank accounts and insurance policies, among other things. Additionally, your estate may include real property or real estate. On top of all of this, your estate will likely include tangible personal property.

Tangible property is generally considered to be things that can be touched or felt. Think about how many items can be included in this category. It will include everything from your clothes to jewelry to your furniture and other household goods. It will include any musical instruments or pieces of art you own. While tangible property may often lack monetary value, there are certain pieces that can hold great sentimental worth. This is why it is common for a person to be specific in directing what personal property should be distributed to certain beneficiaries.

Oftentimes, tangible property is addressed in a specific clause within a person’s will or an established trust. Sometimes specific beneficiaries will be listed for certain items. Considering how much a person may have in tangible property, however, there may also be a blanket statement distributing all remaining tangible property in a certain way. With such a provision in place, it can be especially important to understand the nature and breadth of the tangible property category. For example, will your treasured coin collection fall into the tangible property category or is it considered to be cash? For gray are items, consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can be particularly important.

Here are some helpful tips for evaluating what may or may not be considered tangible property. Tangible property is tactile. It can be felt and touched because it has a physical presence. That being said, the tangible property does not include cash, nor does it include stocks held in the form of a certificate. That being said, if a stock certificate is found within a desk drawer and the desk and all of its contents have been explicitly gifted to someone, the stock may be included in such a gift.

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For all of your estate planning needs, OC Wills & Trusts are here to help you put legal tools in place to protect your future and that of your loved ones. Contact us today.