Property is classified as real property or personal property, tangible or intangible, and private or public. Personal property can be transformed into real property when it is affixed to the land. Real property can be transformed into personal property when it is severed from the land. Personal property can be acquired for ownership through production, purchase, or gift or, in certain circumstances, by finding it. Bailments are legal arrangements in which the rightful possessor of personal property leaves the property with someone else who agrees to hold it and return it on demand.
When thinking about acquiring property, it is important to understand the rights and duties associated with acquiring it, the protections afforded to the owner, and how to transfer it to another party at the time of sale, lease, or licensing the right to use it. Real property includes land and the buildings attached to it, as well as the minerals below it. Personal property is everything else. Because property ownership includes exposure to liability, businesses need to take steps to protect people on their real property from hazards. Businesses are also subject to land use regulations and environmental laws for the use of their real property.
Real and personal property may be transferred to another owner through wills and trusts upon the death of the original owner. Businesses property often needs to be transferred when the business owner dies, and not having a will or trust in place to convey the property can complicate the probate process. Non-probate assets are popular to avoid inheritance taxes and delays in distributing assets.
Environmental laws have a big impact on businesses, especially manufacturers. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are federal laws that are implemented through the states, so businesses must work with both state and federal governments to ensure they are legally compliant. Businesses that want to open or expand their operations are required to prepare an environmental impact statement if they need federal approval.