You’ve got a few lovely pieces of jewelry in your family — some of which you purchased yourself and some of which you inherited.
As you start to think ahead to your own estate plan, you’re concerned about how to divide the items fairly among your own heirs. Here are some tips:
Get each of your best pieces appraised
You can’t very well divide things fairly until you know what they’re worth — and the odds are high that you have no real idea of their true value.
Once you know how to value the pieces, you can start to think about what’s fair. If, for example, your grandmother’s diamond brooch is particularly valuable, you may need to handle it differently than the rings and bracelets that all have similar values.
Recognize that the sentimental value of an item may exceed its financial value
Your children may attach particularly strong memories to certain pieces of your jewelry. It never hurts to ask them if they have preferences about what they want to inherit. If they do (and their preferences don’t overlap), you may be able to accommodate them all.
If their preferences do overlap, this is a great time to have a family discussion. If you can get your heirs to agree now on who will get which piece of estate jewelry, you make it easier for your family to avoid legal conflicts later.
Consider creative alternatives with special pieces
Sometimes you simply need to think outside the box to solve unique problems. Grandma’s brooch, for example, can be given new life — and divided up. If you have three children, for example, you can work with a jeweler and find a way to create three matching pieces of jewelry using the stones from the brooch.
When estate planning gets complicated, it helps to explore all your legal options. There may be ideas you haven’t even considered.