The Tangible Personal Property Inventory Form
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Estate Planning & Asset Protection

FAQs About The Tangible Personal Property Inventory Form

Who may use them?

Anyone who has a Will or trust that makes reference to this type of separate writing. You don't have to fill them out before you sign your will or trust agreement. You fill them out informally at home, before or after the signing ceremony. They do not even be in existence when your Will or trust is executed.

What do they do?

They give you the flexibility to revise the list of whom you are going leave your personal property to without having to follow the formalities of a will ceremony. In addition, by filling out these forms you create an organized accounting of your personal property, so if you are killed or become incapacitated there will be no confusion as to what you own.

Where do you keep them?

You keep them in a safe place where you can access them easily. This will enable you to update them whenever you make a major purchase or as part of your annual review. As added protection, you should provide your attorney with the forms after you first complete them and as you annually update them.

When do you update them?

When property is purchased, sold, or inherited. All you have to do are make handwritten changes and initial them. You can also change the people you designate to receive your property informally at home.

How much time does it take to do an inventory?

If you do it as a team as we recommend, it can usually be done in one day. If you have an extremely large house or just do not want to do it yourself, we encourage you to hire someone to do the job for you.

What is "tangible" personal property?

Tangible means you can touch it, it takes up space. Actually, the relevant law excludes money from the definition of tangible also. Personal property is everything but real property, such as land and buildings. Household goods and personal effects make up the bulk of tangible personal property.

What happens if the person designated to receive the property dies before I do?

If you want the property to go to that person's heirs you designate their heirs as the second devisee. If you don't want their heirs to get the property, select a different second devisee. If neither the primary nor the secondary devisee is able to receive the property, it will go to the person named in the residual clause of your Will or revocable trust.

Do I have to leave each piece of property to an individual?

No, you may give the property to a group who then choose who gets what among themselves. To ensure fairness, you may include instructions in your Will or revocable trust on how the process of selecting items will be conducted.

Do I have to leave each piece of property to an individual?

No, you mat give the property to a group who then choose who gets what among themselves. To ensure fairness you may include instructions in your Will or revocable trust on how the process of selecting items will be conducted.

What happens to the tangible personal property that I fail to include on this form?

The succession plan outlined in your Will and/or revocable trust controls the distribution. Each document has a provision dealing with the distribution of your personal property.

Does this form prevent probate?

If it is used with a trust, not if it is used with a will. Any property that passes under your will is subject to probate, even if there is no estate tax due. That is why we recommend a trust for smaller estates. If your estate is only worth $100,000, you will pay over $5,000 in probate fees and legal costs. The price of implementing a revocable trust is much less than that.

How is this form different than an informal handwritten Will?

First, you may only designate who will receive your personal property, excluding money, not real property with this form. A handwritten will may be used to distribute all your property. Second, this form is designed to give you flexibility in deciding who will get your personal property, as an amendment to a will or trust. Before the law was changed, any amendment to a Will had to be done with some degree of formality. Now you just mention the document in your Will and it will be legally binding.

How does it save me money?

Because you may change the people designated to receive you personal property without all the formalities of a Will signing ceremony, but without losing the protection of your formal Will or revocable trust. Also, a completed inventory of your household goods will be good evidence of loss to an insurance company or as an investigative tool for the police.

Do I have to leave the personal property to a relative?

No, it may left to anyone. We recommend that you leave small items to all the people who made a difference in your life. This gesture will create a special bond and will be a good example to your family.