Assignment of Personal Property

The greatest confusion, contention, and misunderstandings about the transfer of property often concern items of personal property. While real estate requires a deed for transfer, many forms of personal property have no formal designation of ownership.

With an assignment of personal property, you can be specific about your intention to transfer personal property, which can avoid significant problems in the future. Inhulsen Law can prepare documents to avoid ambiguity when assigning personal property in estate planning and business law transactions. We craft documents that are built to withstand any legal challenges but at the same time straightforward to comprehend so that your meaning is clear.

Understanding an Assignment of Personal Property

At its most basic, an assignment of personal property is a document or a portion of a document that assigns your interests in personal property to someone else. The assignment is often meant to take place at a point in the future, such as after you pass away. However, you can assign property into a trust or to someone directly while you are living.

To be most effective, the assignment of personal property should be as descriptive as possible so that those affected understand what is included and what is not. Many items can be described by category, such as “all furniture.” For items with particular value or those that could potentially be treated as a fixture or overlooked in some way, it may be a good idea to list those items individually in the assignment. At Inhulsen Law, we work with you to create the appropriate assignment of personal property designed to meet your goals and provide certainty in the future.

What Does Personal Property Include?

The definition of personal property can vary according to interpretation, so it is wise to be as inclusive as possible when describing personal property. By some definitions, anything that is not real estate is personal property. Some people think of personal property as property that can be moved, like furniture, jewelry, and electronic equipment. However, personal property also includes intangible items such as stock, retirement accounts, patents, websites, and cryptocurrency. In fact, all types of money are technically intangible personal property.

In transactions involving real estate or business interests, people often disagree about whether certain items should be classified as personal property or as fixtures that are a part of the real estate and stay with the real property when it is sold or when a lease is up. This is another reason why it is good to be specific and inclusive when making an assignment of personal property or any transaction involving real estate.

While items like a car or boat are considered personal property, they cannot be transferred through an assignment of personal property because a change of ownership requires a change of title. Similarly, assets such as bank accounts that have specific transfer procedures can also not usually be transferred through an assignment of personal property.

Integrating an Assignment of Personal Property into an Estate Plan

If you want to transfer certain items of personal property to loved ones or to a charitable organization after you pass away, we can incorporate your assignment of personal property into your will or revocable living trust. When an assignment of personal property is included with a will, if you want to later make any additions or changes, you need to fulfill the same legal formalities used when executing a will. If the assignment of personal property, or an amendment to it is created as a separate document, it is important to ensure that the paperwork is kept together for the assignment to have the intended effect.

When an assignment of personal property is incorporated into a revocable living trust, it is easier to make modifications. Generally, changes can be made through a simple signed document or by amending the terms of the trust document.

Assignment of Personal Property to a Business

If you want to assign property you own to your business for tax purposes or other reasons, it is important to have appropriate documents memorializing the transaction. Inhulsen Law can help you establish the cost basis and create a bill of sale or other assignment document to enable you to depreciate the asset as part of your business expenses.

Comprehensive Planning Tailored to Your Needs

Whether you are building a personal estate plan, working to keep your business moving forward, or integrating tasks that affect both personal and business plans, the experienced team at Inhulsen Law is ready to assist. We can create an assignment of personal property and other tools specifically designed to meet your goals for the short and long term. To discuss the ways we can assist, schedule a consultation today.

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