Estate Planning Basics

End of Life Management Toolkit #6 | by Team Passare and Robert L. Shepard

4. Types of Property

All property can be classified as either real property or personal property:

Real property

Real property is land. Examples include a primary residence, a vacation home, investment real estate, a farm, a condominium, or any interest in land.

Personal property

Personal property includes all property that is not real property and includes two types:

1. Tangible personal property is property that has independent substance. Examples include furniture, jewelry, cars, or stamp collections.

2. Intangible personal property includes personal property that has value, not for what it is, but for what it represents. Examples include stock certificates, bonds, promissory notes, contracts, or claims.


Another way to classify property is how state law governs the transfer of property:

Probate property

Probate property is all property that, at death, transfers through a Last Will and Testament.

Probate property must go through the probate process to get to beneficiaries.


Non-probate property can be defined as all property that is not probate property.

Non-probate property gets to the appropriate beneficiary at death, not through the probate court, but through other means.

Now, take a few minutes to answer these questions to better understand estate planning basics.
  1. What real and personal property do you own?
  2. Of your personal property, which is tangible and which is intangible?
  3. Do you own property that falls into the Probate category?
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