The process of estate settlement is designed to accomplish 3 things:
• determine what assets were owned by the deceased and place a value on the assets,
• transfer the assets to the correct people or institutions, and
• pay any taxes that may be due.
What’s at Stake? – Dissent after Death
These tasks are the responsibilities of the estate Executor or Administrator who is often a family member in the ‘hot seat.’ Often, they must be accomplished during a period of high emotions when family members are struggling with grief and loss. Sibling and other fierce rivalries can and do arise.
Here are typical situations that Jewelry Consultant Ben Gordon encounters frequently:
• Two high value rings and one diamond necklace, but four grandchildren. How should they be divided?
• Three siblings – each one wants to inherit Mom’s engagement ring, but she didn’t leave instructions.
• Dad had a collection of tie pins in every color gemstone, but none of the sons wear ties.
• Grandmother had several large pearl necklaces. Impressive, but worth keeping?
Each situation can benefit from a neutral intermediary. Mr. Gordon doesn’t arbitrate family feuds, but he DOES offer independent and objective valuations that can end disputes and bring peace of mind in a time of turmoil.
Family Feuds Averted
In the first instance with two rings and a necklace – he can calculate the fair market value to arrive at a dollar total that can be divided equally in four ways. Especially if the grandchildren do not intend to wear grandmother’s jewelry.
In the case of one engagement ring but three siblings; surely Mother didn’t intend to create a family division. Once the value of the ring is determined, an equitable split can be divided. If one sibling gets the ring, then the other siblings can receive different items from the remainder of the estate of equal value.
As for Dad’s tie pins – with a known value, the sons can decide together who receives which tie pin and may elect to redesign the stones into something they or their spouses might wear and enjoy.
And the pearls – perhaps their value will go to a future tuition payment for a grandchild; or, if they turn out to be frankly fake costume jewelry, they can be donated to a charity thrift shop or enjoyed in dress- up play for some little princess!
As a graduate gemologist and jewelry consultant, Mr. Gordon can bring each estate situation to a harmonious resolution. All it takes is a consultation. He works by appointment and will consult with multiple family members so that everyone hears the same details. He can also provide itemized inventories and written reports, depending on the amount of detail required by the estate administrator.
Settling an estate requires a team effort to coordinate between attorneys, accountants, medical professionals and family members. A jewelry consultant should be one of the professional team members as well – especially if an estate is to be probated.
Consider valuing jewelry before an unexpected death takes place. Updating previously valued items is faster and easier than researching from scratch and may be less costly.
Peace of mind from a trusted jewelry professional – What’s that worth to your heirs?