One of the most wrenching things about a parent dying is deciding how to divide up his or her possessions. This can be especially difficult if that parent did not decide on a method of division that seems fair and did not assign particular items to particular children. If you are in the midst of the estate planning process and worry that this might be a problem, then you are going to need to make sure that you choose a method of dividing the jewelry to avoid strife. Here are some possible methods to consider.
1. Assign Pieces of Jewelry to Each Child in the Will
The first option is to clearly declare which pieces of jewelry go to which children. You can even put the jewelry that goes to each sibling in its own box or bag so that the executor of the estate can simply hand them out during the reading of the will. The advantage of this method is that you will be able to clearly declare who gets what and feel certain that your wishes will be respected. The problem with this method is that it puts a lot of responsibility on you and takes up a lot of your time. It can also lead to hurt feelings after your death.
2. Divide Based on Value
Another option is to set aside some money from your estate to pay for a jewelry specialist to come and appraise each item of jewelry. Then, starting with the oldest child, have each sibling choose a piece of jewelry with the stipulation that everyone's total amount of jewelry needs to add up to roughly the same amount in the end. Siblings have the option to buy each other out. The advantage of this is that everyone gets the same amount of jewelry and favoritism is avoided. It also takes the division off of your plate. The problem with this method is that it takes longer than dividing each piece in the will and can lead to one sibling getting a piece of jewelry that means a lot to another sibling.
3. Divide By Request
Finally, you can take a set of jewelry and talk to all of your children ahead of time with regards to the pieces that each child wants. You can try to be as fair possible and then allow the jewelry that no one has any sentimental feelings about to be divided by value. The advantage of this method is that you are able to make sure that pieces with sentimental value go to the right children. However, if two children want the same piece of jewelry, you might seem like you are playing favorites by giving it to one child over the other.
For more information, talk to a local estate planning attorney.