Will Inheritance: Tangible and Intangible Assets

When you are writing a will, inheritance laws and estate and probate taxes often require that the probate court determine whether the property is tangible, intangible, real or personal. This is because certain property may be exempt from estate taxes and some of your heirs may be entitled to an interest in certain types of property, regardless of whom you name as the beneficiary.

Intangible Assets vs. Tangible Assets 

The valuable items you own that cannot be physically touched or seen are referred to as intangible assets. Some examples of intangible assets include the following:

  • Bank accounts
  • Bonds
  • Accounts receivables

Tangible assets are the direct opposite and include items such as these:

  • Cars
  • Collectibles
  • Household goods

If you write a will, then inheritance laws prohibit you from leaving tangible or intangible assets that are co-owned by a spouse or someone else. The assets have to be in your name only to be included in your estate. There are also some intangible assets that are not considered a part of your estate, such as life insurance proceeds. Many estate planning experts recommend that you divide the assets by percentages after you bequeath specific items to your beneficiaries.