What is classed as Chattels?

Pete Liggins
March 8, 2023
When dealing with an estate, a valuation of assets in the form of the chattels of the deceased is required.

When dealing with an estate, a valuation of assets in the form of the chattels of the deceased is required. In probate terminology, chattels are the everyday assets such as furniture and ordinary possessions, as opposed to houses, investments and so on. Although sometimes of little monetary value, the distribution is often of the most importance to the deceased and their loved ones. 

A Chattel is defined as a personal possession. When dealing with Probate this definition extends to include an item of property other than freehold land, chattels personal and chattels real. 

Tangible goods are called chattels personal and refer to a moveable asset. Examples include a piece of furniture, jewellery, photographs, a painting, collectibles or a car, including garden effects, goods, equipment, machinery and even pets! 

Leasehold interests in land are called chattels real, because they possess characteristics of both real and personal property. 

The personal chattels of a deceased person are comprehensively defined by section 25 of the administration of Estates Act 1925 and can be found here

Personal belongings, ie: Chattels can be the centre of a dispute between family members when someone dies. The sentimental value of certain items can lead to disappointed beneficiaries spending time and money on attempting to obtain personal chattels from your estate. Keep this in mind when making a Will. The more detailed, specific and clear your will is, the easier the distribution of your estate will be. 

An alternative is to leave a “Letter of Wishes”, which is not legally binding but would offer some guidance to your executors. You can prepare this letter yourself and update it as many times as you like.

Other options are to leave your personal chattels to fall into the residuary estate and for the executors to simply sell the items and the proceeds will be divided between your residuary beneficiaries.

If you have many items you wish to leave to specific people, for example, your engagement ring to your daughter, or your Rolex watch to your grandson, we highly recommend detailing this in your will, and if you don’t have a will – we strongly advise that you get one drawn up.  

If you need to obtain a valuation for Probate, or if you have any chattels that you are looking to sell at auction, please do get in touch.

Our team of expert Valuers are here to assist you.

0800 038 5425 / probate@dawsonsauctions.co.uk

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