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Understanding the Differences between “Real” and “Personal” Property

Even lawyers will admit that some legal terms may be of questionable use and may cause more confusion than enlightenment. However, terms like “real” and “personal” property are actually quite useful, especially because they can help people gain a better understanding about the various things they own. Once you properly perceive your assets, it’s easier to inventory them and draw up a comprehensive estate plan with your Peachtree City attorney.

            The following descriptions can help you recognize how different properties are both classified and evaluated, which places you in a much better position to create an estate plan that will allow you to help many others with your gifts – even if many of your possessions have more sentimental than monetary value.

Your Real Property Estate

            “Real” property is easiest to understand if you just remind yourself that it simply refers to land and/or buildings and the legal rights you have to use and enjoy such property.

            Here are common types of real property you may currently own or use.

  • A simple tract of land, regardless of whether anyone has ever developed it or built a house upon it;
  • The house, condominium or other place where you live that's both owned by you and serves as your primary residence;
  • A timeshare (which allows you to go stay in a place/unit for a set number of days--  based upon ongoing payments you’re making);
  • An investment property. This can include many structures, including an apartment building you co-own (or solely own), regardless of whether you personally maintain a unit there or not. This may also refer to a vacation house, a business building or a ski resort.

Personal Property

In general, there are two types of personal property. Tangible personal property includes things that you can either hold in your hand or simply touch. So, it includes such items as jewelry, furniture, artwork and books;

Intangible personal property usually just refers to financial assets that may exist in the form of stocks, bonds, bank accounts and pensions/retirement accounts.

Of course, commercial paper like stocks and bonds are just evidence of ownership rights in other property or funds.

To obtain help with satisfying all of your Georgia estate planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia