When you started to write your estate plans, you quickly discovered that dividing up the real estate, bank accounts, insurance policy dividends and other major assets was pretty easy. Once everything was settled or sold, you just wanted the money divided between your children.
But what do you do about your jewelry?
The emotional value your children attach to some of your jewelry pieces can be highly significant. Unless you want to create hard feelings that could drive a wedge between the siblings forever, you need to handle this issue carefully.
How to divide estate jewelry without starting a war
There are three common ways that people use to divide up their estate jewelry:
- By request: Sometimes, simply asking your children which pieces they want (and maybe doing a little negotiation where requests overlap until everybody is satisfied) will solve the problem. If everybody feels like they got what they wanted (or most of it), that may be enough.
- By value: This can be tough, especially if you have one or two pieces that are worth much more than the rest. You may want to consider creative solutions, like giving each of your children one of your diamond earrings so that they can set the stone into a ring instead.
- By turn: This obliges your children to sort the problem out between themselves, to a degree. Siblings draw lots to see who starts the process, with each person selecting one item at a time until everything they want is taken.
When you make your estate plans, many complicated decisions have to be made, and the easiest answers aren’t always apparent. Experienced guidance can often help you find solutions that work for your unique needs.