- Personal property
Personal property, roughly speaking, is private property that is moveable, as opposed to real property or real estate. In the common law systems personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In the civil law systems personal property is often called movable property or movables - any property that can be moved from one location to another. This term is in distinction with immovable property (or immoveable property) or immovables (or immoveables), such as land and buildings. Movable property on land, that which was not automatically sold with the land, included for example larger livestock (wildlife and smaller livestock like chickens, by contrast, was often sold as part of the land). In fact the word cattle is the Old Norman variant of Old French chatel (derived from Latin capitalis, “of the head”), which was once synonymous with general movable personal property.
Personal property may be classified in a variety of ways. Tangible personal property refers to any type of property that can generally be moved (i.e., it is not attached to real property or land), touched or felt. These generally include items such as furniture, clothing, jewellery, art, writings, or household goods. In some cases, there can be formal title documents that show the ownership and transfer rights of that property after a person's death (for example, motor vehicles, boats, etc.) In many cases, however, tangible personal property will not be "titled" in an owner's name and is presumed to be whatever property he or she was in possession of at the time of his or her death.
Intangible personal property or "intangibles" refers to personal property that cannot actually be moved, touched or felt, but instead represents something of value such as negotiable instruments, securities, service (economics), and intangible assets including chose in action.
Accountants also distinguish personal property from real property because personal property can be depreciated faster than improvements (while land is not depreciable at all). It is an owner's right to get tax benefits for chattel, and there are businesses that specialize in appraising personal property, or chattel.
The distinction between these types of property is significant for a variety of reasons. Usually one's rights on movables are more attenuated than one's rights on immovables (or real property). The statutes of limitations or prescriptive periods are usually shorter when dealing with personal or movable property. Real property rights are usually enforceable for a much longer period of time and in most jurisdictions real estate and immovables are registered in government-sanctioned land registers. In some jurisdictions, rights (such as a lien or other security interest) can be registered against personal or movable property.
In the common law it is possible to place a mortgage upon real property. Such mortgage requires payment or the owner of the mortgage can seek foreclosure. Personal property can often be secured with similar kind of device, variously called a chattel mortgage, trust receipt, or security interest. In the United States, Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code governs the creation and enforcement of security interests in most (but not all) types of personal property.
There is no similar institution to the mortgage in the civil law, however a hypothec is a device to secure real rights against property. These real rights follow the property along with the ownership. In the common law a lien also remains on the property and it is not extinguished by alienation of the property; liens may be real or equitable.
Many jurisdictions levy a personal property tax, an annual tax on the privilege of owning or possessing personal property within the boundaries of the jurisdiction. Automobile and boat registration fees are a subset of this tax. Most household goods are exempt as long as they are kept or used within the household; the tax usually becomes a problem when the taxing authority discovers that expensive personal property like art is being regularly stored outside of the household.
The distinction between tangible and intangible personal property is also significant in some of the jurisdictions which impose sales taxes. In Canada, for example, provincial and federal sales taxes were imposed primarily on sales of tangible personal property whereas sales of intangibles tended to be exempt. The move to value added taxes, under which almost all transactions are taxable, has diminished the significance of the distinction.
Personal versus private property
In political/economic theory, notably socialist (including anarcho-socialist) philosophies, the distinction between private and personal property is extremely important. Which items of property constitute which is open to debate.
- Personal property is part of your person and includes property from which you have the right to exclude others (e.g., televisions, cars, clothes, etc.)
- Private property is a social relationship, not a relationship between person and thing according to Marx (e.g., factories, mines, dams, infrastructure, etc.). In capitalism, feudalism, and slavery there is no distinction between personal and private property.
- To many socialists, the term private property refers to capital or the means of production, while personal property refers to consumer and non-capital goods and services.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
personal property — see property Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. personal property … Law dictionary
Personal property — Personal Per son*al (p[ e]r s[u^]n*al), a. [L. personalis: cf. F. personnel.] 1. Pertaining to human beings as distinct from things. [1913 Webster] Every man so termed by way of personal difference. Hooker. [1913 Webster] 2. Of or pertaining to a … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
personal property — Assets, such as cars, stock, furniture, etc., that is not real estate or affixed to real property. (Bankruptcy in Brief) Property that is not real property; things moveable, also known as chattels. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United … Glossary of Bankruptcy
personal property — ► NOUN Law ▪ all of someone s property except land and buildings. Compare with REAL PROPERTY(Cf. ↑real property) … English terms dictionary
personal property — n. any property that is not real property and that is movable or not attached to the land … English World dictionary
personal property — In broad and general sense, everything that is the subject of ownership, not coming under denomination of real estate. A right or interest in things personal, or right or interest less than a freehold in realty, or any right or interest which one … Black's law dictionary
Personal Property — A type of property which, in its most general definition, can include any asset other than real estate. The distinguishing factor between personal property and real estate is that personal property is movable. That is, the asset is not fixed… … Investment dictionary
personal property — Defined by law to be all property that is not real property. Further classified in Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code into various categories. American Banker Glossary Any assets other than real estate. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * *… … Financial and business terms
personal property — All property that is not real estate (i.e., all property other than land and the fixtures that are permanently attached to it). Cars, bank accounts, shares, wages, a small business, furniture, insurance policies, jewelry and patents are… … Business law dictionary
personal property — Money, goods, and movable chattels. Ralston Steel Car Co. v Ralston, 112 Ohio St 306, 147 NE 513, 39 ALR 334. Goods, chattels, things in action, evidences of debt, and money. All objects and rights which are capable of ownership except freehold… … Ballentine's law dictionary