Personal Effects Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Personal Effects, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Personal Effects?

n.Personal effects refers to items of personal use.These items are generally given away in a will and includes items like clothes,jewellery,cosmetics,furniture,silver etc.It is not real property.

History and Meaning of Personal Effects

Personal effects are possessions that an individual owns and typically, these items are for personal use. Some examples of personal effects include clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, household furniture, and silverware. Personal effects came about as a legal term to clarify the distribution of such items after the owner's death. In a will, personal effects are distributed among the heirs in a process known as the inventory of the estate.

The term "personal effects" has been in use for centuries and has evolved over time as laws and customs have changed. Personal effects might have different meanings according to local law, customs and tax laws. They might also vary depending on the purpose for which the term is being used.

Examples of Personal Effects

  • Mary's will specified that that her personal effects be divided amongst her children, according to the detailed instructions she had written in her will.

  • After her mother died, Sarah was given the task of sorting out her mother's personal effects and deciding what to sell, donate or keep.

  • When John left his job, he was requested to take all his personal effects with him including, his laptop, jacket, and company car.

Legal Terms Similar to Personal Effects

  • Tangible personal property: This refers to physical property, unlike intellectual property. Tangible personal property includes personal effects.

  • Estate: This refers to all the assets of a person, including real property and personal effects, that are subject to distribution according to the will or inheritance laws.

  • Inheritance: This refers to the act of transferring the property, including personal effects, of a deceased individual to their heirs.