When you make your will, you may find that dividing up your major assets among your heirs is the easy part. You can direct them to sell the house, liquidate the stocks and split the insurance proceeds and cash evenly.
The hard part is figuring out how to divide smaller, more personal items. If you’re a woman, for example, your diamond wedding ring set can carry a great deal of emotional significance.
How do you divide something like that? Here are some suggestions:
Stick to family tradition – but balance things out
If your family tradition is to pass the mother’s diamond wedding set down to the oldest daughter or granddaughter, it’s okay to keep the tradition going.
Just make sure that you pass items of equal value to the rest of your children. Get the wedding set appraised and then consider passing other items (jewelry, artwork or anything else that is personal) down to the others. If your oldest child gets the wedding set, for example, maybe the second-born gets your diamond earrings.
Have the diamonds split into new pieces
This way, you can make sure that everybody gets something – and nobody feels cheated. You can make arrangements in your will for your estate to pay for new jewelry to be made out of old.
Talk to a jeweler and see what can be done. Maybe you can get a diamond solitaire pendant for your oldest daughter, a pair of diamond earrings for the second and a diamond pinkie ring for your son out of your set.
Ask your heirs if they even want them
It can be hard to accept, but your heirs may never wear your diamond set. Styles change over time and tastes can vary. You probably don’t want them to just sit in a box unworn forever. If that’s the situation, tell your heirs that you want the rings sold and the proceeds split – just like everything else in the estate.
Finally, remind your heirs that nothing is more important than their relationship with each other, so you hope that they’ll keep that in mind when the time comes. Consider talking to them now about how you plan to handle sentimental items – diamonds or otherwise – so that you can forge your estate plan in peace.