3 Important Jewelry Estate Planning Tips


Are you prepared?

I grew up in a “Boy Scout” family, where the motto is “Be prepared”.


I certainly believe that life is precious and to live life to its fullest each day. I am sure you do too!


This is certainly true, now, more than ever with the craziness and uncertainty that is going on all around us.

Of course, no one expects anything bad is going to happen, especially if you are young and healthy…well youngish :)


That is why it is so important to have a plan and be prepared especially with your jewelry.


As an appraiser, I see so many fights between relatives after someone passes because they want their fair share or it was verbally promised to them.


Follow these 3 Important Jewelry Estate Planning Tips to try and avoid this unnecessary fighting!


Of course, the First Step before doing anything official is:

Get Organized:

Make sure you know what is real, what is costume, and if you have appraisals, what the current values are. It is also important to keep any receipts, appraisals or lab certifications (ex. GIA or AGS) pertaining to the jewelry piece for future reference.


Start to think about who you want to leave jewelry to and you could ask them personally if there is a piece they particularly would want.


Just remember, any piece of jewelry can also be transformed and updated to suit the receiver’s style…see #3.


Now that you are organized…

What can you do NOW to Plan and keep the family together?


1. Have it in writing:

Have a will or living trust that specifically states who is getting a specific piece or pieces.


If it is a very sentimental piece, you may want to write a note why you leave that heirloom to that person.


The jewelry should be itemized and properly described with metal, gemstone, and design descriptions as well as a picture so that there is no confusion.


If splitting the jewelry according to value is important to you, than you need to get each jewelry item appraised for a retail value. Having a professional appraisal shows your family a value that is unbiased—performed by someone that doesn’t have any interest in the piece. And as a GIA appraiser, that is USPAP certified, I include all of the important details and photos needed.

 

When my mother was working on her will, I came over and helped her divide it.


She certainly has a lot, since I am in the jewelry world & it just so happens that she LOVES jewelry...Win, win!

First we got out all of her jewelry and went through what was real, what was costume. Then we put a post-it with each name that she was leaving her jewelry to on the kitchen table.


We started dividing the jewelry, mostly according to who would like it or wear it the most and we also made sure the values were close.


After it was all laid out behind each post-it with the name on it, I took a picture, wrote an itemized list, and made sure each piece had an appraisal.

 
 

2. Give it to them Now:

If there is a piece or pieces that your loved one has commented on or expressed interest in and you are no longer wearing it, then why not give it to them now as a gift to commemorate a special occasion.


Not only will they treasure it so much more and remember that day forever, but you can watch them enjoy it and wear it.

 

My grandfather was very generous and believed in giving away his possessions while he was living. I guess that is where I get it from :).


He had a ring made for himself with a diamond I helped him recut to be a nicer shape.


He loved to wear it, but as he got older, he wanted my dad to have it and gave it to him for his birthday. It was quite a surprise and it is one of my dad’s favorite rings to wear.

 

3. Repurpose A Jewelry Piece Together:

A lot of times, your jewelry just isn’t someone else’s style. So, the best option to keep your memory alive is to transform it.


Think of what a great story it would be to give your loved one an old style jewelry piece, maybe your old diamond engagement ring, and work together to transform it into a customized new engagement ring or possibly something else, like a pendant or trendy ring.


What a treasure that would be, to have a piece of you in their new piece of jewelry. Plus, by being a part of the transformation, the new piece will have a deeper connection, filled with history, love, and memories.

 

A client of mine had a diamond cocktail ring that her living grandmother gave her to repurpose into anything she wanted.

We decided on a pendant and with some of the leftover diamonds (who doesn’t love leftovers!), we made a cool snake ring.

Her grandmother was part of the process every step of the way. Here are some text messages of what she and her grandmother had to say after I sent them initial designs:

These are the final pieces:


 
 

If you are like me, love, connection, family are very important to you and make each day special.


The memories and stories that these jewelry pieces have are precious and deserve to be left in the right hands, wrists, neck, etc.


So make sure you are prepared and make a plan!

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