Most of us own a beautiful heirloom or precious pieces of our family’s history, but what should we do with it? Some of the greatest treasures passed down through generations are pieces of vintage family jewelry. It may be the antique engagement ring with which Grandpa proposed to Grandma or the family pearls. There may be furniture such as the secretary desk she used to start the family business. Your family history imbues these items with immense sentimental value.
Such history deserves a better fate than just gathering dust or hiding in a cedar box. Here are some suggestions on how to handle these items:
- Preserve the provenance of each piece. Photograph the item and make a record of who owned it. If you are not sure, do online research on the style of the piece by exploring vintage jewelry or antique furniture websites.
- Have the item appraised. A $2,000 vintage diamond engagement ring deserves a different level of treatment than a $20 piece of costume jewelry, as does a piece of antique furniture versus a retail store build it yourself piece. Obtain an expert valuation, and depending on the appraisal, you may decide it merits extra insurance coverage to guard against loss.
- Create a separate list of items to ensure your estate plan includes heirlooms. Consider titled and non-titled property in a comprehensive approach to estate planning to provide a means of recognizing a broad range of relationships. Some heirs will be interested in one class, but not another. You may want to avoid giving heirs property in which they have no interest.
How can you divide a diamond ring, an antique desk, or fine china? You can make specific bequests of these items in your Trust, Will or through a Letter of Instruction. Deciding who gets your possessions among multiple heirs can be difficult. You may choose to limit a beneficiary’s right in the property if you’re worried they may sell it, give it away, or squander it. Also, you may have a concern that a child may die before his or her spouse dies, and you want to preserve assets for your grandchildren.
There are other alternatives as well for planning for your tangible items. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can create an estate plan that covers your family’s most cherished treasures providing peace of mind and allowing you to share their beauty and history with future generations.