What is a Tangible Personal Property List and What Are The Benefits?

What is a Tangible Personal Property List and What Are The Benefits?

Our tangible personal property is often important to us, as is ensuring they go to the desired family or friends after we are gone. This can get complicated when it comes to tangible personal property for a number of reasons, including the fact these are often objects with both sentimental and real value. In order to ensure these items are taken care of and given to the people who you want, consider writing a tangible personal property list.

What is a Tangible Personal Property List?
Tangible property is generally understood as objects that can be touched, weighed, or measured. For example, this category includes jewelry, collectible items, artwork, furniture, and household items. It is important to know that things like real estate, stocks and bonds, cash, and insurance policies are not considered tangible personal property. A tangible personal property list is an itemized list of these things and the individual or group of people who will receive them. This list can be written by the individual alone and does not require an attorney or witnesses.

What are The Benefits of a Tangible Personal Property List?
Without a separate tangible personal property list, you would need to convey the information in a clause contained in a Last Will and Testament.  As the clause is part of the Will, it is to change when necessary. This can also be complicated if there is not a very clear disposition clause included, and items may be displaced in the process.

A tangible personal property list, then, would act as a memorandum to your Will that is easy to alter and revise as you see fit. This process is much faster and it does not require assistance from your estate planning attorney every time you want to make a revision. It is also possible to make multiple lists as time goes on to reflect new decisions and items are destroyed or replaced. Ultimately, this option can save you a lot of time and expense.

How Do I Write a Tangible Personal Property List?
To begin, if you are drafting a list for the first time, it would be wise to speak with your attorney to see how it may be accommodated by your current estate plan. Your attorney will be able to address any possible issues or conflicts between your estate planning documents and the list and will be able to further explain how to approach the task. They may recommend that you include items of significant value in your will or trust, as these documents can be more reliable. For example, Ward, Shindle & Hall provides a sample disposition list that can be completed and kept stored with your original will.

Moving forward with other tangible property items, you need to ensure the list is either in your handwriting or that your signature is at the bottom of it. It is important to be very clear in your language regarding the items and their recipients. Further, if you draft multiple lists with revisions, it is important that you sign and date the most recent list both to verify that it is yours and specify that this most recent revision is accurate. This will limit any confusion, or disputes between family members if multiple lists are found and there are inconsistencies.

Tangible personal property lists are a valuable tool for ensuring your property goes to the intended recipients after you are gone.

If you have any questions regarding tangible personal property, estate planning in general, or other legal matters, please contact Ward, Shindle & Hall.
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