Definition: Tangible Personal Property

For purposes of writing a will or a writing disposing of tangible personal property, the term “tangible personal property” has a very specific definition, which is provided by statute. Tangible personal property means: articles of personal or household use or ornament, for example, furniture, furnishings, automobiles, boats, airplanes, and jewelry, as well as precious metals in any tangible form, for example, bullion or coins. The term includes articles even if held for investment purposes and encompasses tangible property that is not real property. The term does not include mobile homes or intangible property, for example, money that is normal currency or normal legal tender, evidences of indebtedness, bank accounts or other monetary deposits, documents of title, or securities.1

Note that although real estate (land and buildings) and mobile homes are tangible (that is, they are capable of being touched), real estate and mobile homes are specifically excluded from the definition of tangible personal property. Likewise, money that is normal currency or normal legal tender (such as ordinary bills and coins), promissory notes, and deeds are all tangible (capable of being touched) but are excluded from the definition.