ESTATES: Assets—Gold Bars, Bullion, and Coins—Tangible or Intangible Property?

The Lawletter Vol 40 No 6
Matt McDavitt, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group
When distributing a probate estate of the realm, it is important to determine whether particular assets are tangible or intangible property where the will ‘s lyric distributes these classes of property to unlike beneficiaries. While many assets may be sorted based upon common-sense principles, other assets stage analytic difficulties. One such baffling asset is gold formed into bars, bullion, and coins. Some laymen would classify these cherished metallic assets as money, others as collectibles, and it is not intuitive whether such gold objects constitute palpable assets ( such as a electric chair or a calculator ) or intangible assets ( such as bank account deposits or stocks ) .
fortunately, this interrogate is handily resolved by employing the general definition regarding how to differentiate palpable from intangible personal property. nationally, in both the probate and the tax context, amber bullion and bars, as with cash currency or coins found amongst the possessions of a testator at death, appoint tangible personal property because ( a ) they can be physically held, and ( b ) the object hold has intrinsic, preferably than representative, value. By contrast, the valuable component of intangible personal property, such as securities, a bank account libra, or a promissory bill, can not be held as an object but is represented by some legal document or good of access. Under tax law, “ ‘intangible property ‘ means such property as has no intrinsic and marketable value, but is merely the example or evidence of value, such as certificates of stock, bonds, promissory notes, copyrights, and franchises. ” State v. Sanders, 923 S.W.2d 540, 542 ( Tenn. 1996 ) ( internal quotation marks omitted ).

thus, gold bullion, bars, and coins clearly appoint “ real ” personal property because ( a ) they can be held, and ( bel ) they have built-in intrinsic rate. A leading encase on this subject comes from Pennsylvania, demonstrating that such assets are to be passed among the estate of the realm ‘s tangible personal property :
The gold and ash grey coins distinctly are tangible place, in that they can be felt or touched. besides, because the coins have both intrinsic and marketable rate in and of themselves, they can not be considered intangible property, without more. The coins are more than the mere representation or testify of value, as opposed to stock certificates or paper currency. See Lawson Estate, 28 D & C 2d 642 ( Phila.Co.1962 ) ( coin solicitation passes through provision of will regarding tangible personal place ; coin collection is not cash ) .
In rhenium Macfarlane ‘s Estate, 459 A.2d 1289, 1292 ( Pa. Super. Ct. 1983 ) ( annotate omitted ) .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.