When you're planning your estate and thinking about the future, one of the things you may decide you want to do is to pass on your jewelry to your children. You may have valuable pieces combined with heirlooms and costume jewelry, all of which will need a home after you pass.
As the owner of the jewelry today, you have a few options. One is to allow the executor of the estate to dole out the jewelry after you pass away. Another option is to talk to those who may have an interest in the jewelry and ask which pieces they'd like to have. You can then gift it directly to them before your passing or opt to leave it to them in your will.
A third option is to divide all the pieces by value, so each heir receives jewelry of approximately the same worth. If you have multiple valuable pieces, this could be a good choice.
Are there any real issues with allowing an executor to divide assets?
There can be. For instance, if family members can't agree on who should receive jewelry from the estate, then the executor has the option of selling it. The proceeds could then be split among those who were interested in the jewelry pieces. However, if you wanted the jewelry to stay in the family, this could be a horrible situation that you want to avoid. That's when you want to include additional information for the executor or will the pieces out individually.
What's the fairest way to divide estate jewelry?
There is no way to know what is or is not fair in your life except to sit down and think about what you'd like to see happen to your jewelry pieces. Perhaps there is one grandchild whom you know wants certain pieces and will care for them, so you will gift them to her.
Maybe there is a son or daughter whom you know would likely sell pieces, so you don't leave them jewelry but instead other assets with less sentimental value. At the end of the day, how you divide your estate is up to you. So long as the estate plan and will are binding and prepared correctly, no one in the family will be able to successfully overturn your wishes, which is exactly what you want your estate plan and will to do for you after your death.