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Tangible Personal Property Questions

Tangible personal property is a tax term that is used to refer to personal property that can be physically moved or relocated. It encompasses a range of items from small office fixtures to light trucks and miscellaneous assets like jewelry, toys, and so on.

Listed below are a few questions on tangible personal property.

What is tangible personal property?

Personal property can be classified in many ways. Tangible personal property usually refers to any kind of property that can be touched, moved, or felt. This would include objects like jewelry, art, writings, clothing, household goods, and furniture. In certain cases, when a person passes away, formal title documents clearly show the ownership and transfer rights of the person’s tangible personal property. However, in most cases, this kind of property is not officially “titled” in an owner’s name and is generally understood to be whatever property he/she possesses at the time of death.

In a will, does “tangible property” or “residuary estate” include part ownership in real estate?

In a will, residuary estate could include real estate depending on the situation but tangible property would not have anything to do with real estate.

Is it a good idea to create a trust and then record real estate property under it? Also, what is the kind of trust that you would need to have to record real estate property?

In this case, you would first need to sign a trust document and assign some tangible personal property or place a nominal sum of money in it, otherwise the trust would be considered invalid. Once you have completed this, you should be able to sign deeds to transfer real property to the trust.

All trusts can hold real estate property. So when you choose one, pick one that is best suited to your needs. For example, one that has asset protection, probate avoidance, and so on.

How can I transfer real property from a deceased person in California who has no will or assets?

At the time of the decedent’s death, if the gross fair market value of the decedent’s estate—including both real and personal property—does not amount to more than $100,000 (according to Probate Code Section 13100), the decedent’s successor can lay claim to a number of items by producing an affidavit or declaration to the person holding the decedent's personal property. These items could include the decedent’s money, tangible personal property, debts owed the decedent, as well as other intangible personal property.

In addition, an Expert on JustAnswer writes: “If the personal property consists of a note secured by a lien on real property and the instrument creating the lien has been recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county where the real property is located, the affidavit or declaration must be recorded in the same county.”

You must also ensure a certified copy of the decedent's death certificate is attached to the affidavit or declaration. Also, if the decedent's personal representative has agreed to this transfer of personal property, a copy of the consent along with letters of administration belonging to the personal representative must be attached to the affidavit or declaration.

Finally, the procedure described above can only be used for personal property in the estate and must be carried out only 40 days after the decedent's death.

Tangible personal property can be confused with real property but unlike the latter, tangible property can be moved or relocated. Depreciation on tangible personal property takes place over a five- or seven year period using straight-line amortization, but this kind of property is also eligible for accelerated depreciation.
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