The physical items we own, called “tangible personal property” (or TPP) is part of the legacy that we leave to those who we wish to bless. Tangible personal property, may have significant or minimal monetary value. Regardless of monetary value, however, TPP may hold a lot of sentimental value to us and to those who are a natural part of our legacy. Whatever its value, and however the value is measured, TPP sometimes requires additional thought and planning when devising an estate plan.
One way to define TPP is that it is our “stuff;” anything that we can put into our vehicles and drive off with, including the vehicle itself, is our TPP. This may prompt some people to wish that they had bought a bigger vehicle with more hauling capacity! Our TPP is not limited by that, but includes everything from household furniture, jewelry, books, clothes and tools, to our collections of anything and everything from dolls to classic cars.
In many Wills, TPP is dealt with in a separate section of the document. And, if there is a specific bequest of certain TPP items to a beneficiary, this property may be found in two sections of a Will. Most often, TPP is left to a surviving spouse, and if none, to descendants to decide among themselves who gets what as part of the estate administration process.
In Pennsylvania, there is some added flexibility in how we can leave our TPP to beneficiaries. If we choose, we may create a list to keep with our Will on which we can specify who will receive a particular item of TPP. The list must be signed and dated, and can be changed at any time. The list does not have to be notarized or witnessed.