What Do You Do With Inherited Jewelry?

If you have inherited jewelry, there are several options you can consider. Ultimately, the decision of what to do with inherited jewelry depends on your personal preferences and financial needs.

For instance, jewelry in good condition can be worn and become part of your wardrobe. Likewise, if the jewelry has sentimental value, you may choose to keep it as a cherished family heirloom or have it remade into a more modern design. 

However, if you don’t want to keep the jewelry, you can always donate or sell it. You can take it to a jewelry store or a pawn shop for a quick appraisal, or you can sell it through an online auction site or a jewelry dealership.

What Is the Etiquette for Inherited Jewelry?

There is no one set of rules for the etiquette of inherited jewelry, as it can vary greatly depending on the family’s culture, beliefs, and traditions. 

However, in general, the most important thing is to respect the wishes of the deceased. If the person who left you the jewelry expressed a specific wish for how it should be used or passed on, you should honor their request.

Additionally, if multiple people have inherited jewelry, it’s crucial to have open and honest communication with each other to avoid any misunderstandings. If the jewelry is to be divided among family members, do so in a fair and equitable way.

Is It OK To Sell Inherited Jewelry?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to sell inherited jewelry if you don’t want to keep it. 

Inherited jewelry is considered personal property, and you have the right to do with it as you please. People choose to sell their inherited jewelry for various reasons, such as raising funds for a major purchase, paying off debts, or supporting their lifestyle.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the sentimental value that the jewelry may hold for other family members or for future generations. If you do choose to sell the jewelry, it’s a good idea to communicate your decision with the rest of your family.

Who Gets Jewelry When Someone Dies?

When someone dies, the distribution of their jewelry and other personal property is determined by the terms of their will or trust. If they passed away without any estate planning documents in place, then the state intestacy laws will determine who gets the jewelry. 

A will or trust is a legally binding document that outlines the distribution of a person’s assets, including jewelry, after they die. If the deceased person had a will or trust, their jewelry will be distributed according to the instructions specified in that document.

If the deceased person did not have a will or trust, the state laws of intestacy would come into play. These laws vary by jurisdiction, but typically dictate that the jewelry and other assets are distributed to the deceased person’s closest relatives, such as their spouse or children. If the deceased person was unmarried and had no children, the jewelry may be distributed to other relatives, such as siblings, parents, or grandparents.

How Do You Fairly Distribute Jewelry After Death?

In many instances, jewelry will be distributed according to the deceased person’s wishes, as explained by their estate planning documents. If the deceased person had a will or trust, it should specify how their jewelry and other assets are to be distributed. This can provide a clear roadmap for the distribution process.

However, in situations where the deceased person did not leave a will or trust or it does not specify how particular pieces of jewelry should be distributed, it is essential to split it fairly among heirs, in proportion to the share of the estate they are entitled to receive.

Knowing the market value of each piece can help determine its worth and ensure that it is distributed fairly. If there is any confusion or disagreement about the value of the jewelry, a professional appraiser can provide an independent evaluation that can help resolve any disputes.

How Do You Separate Inherited Jewelry Between Siblings?

While the deceased person’s will and trust may dictate how specific pieces of jewelry should be distributed, if there are no instructions or estate planning documents provided, the personal representative may be placed in the challenging position of deciding how to fairly distribute a jewelry collection. Separating inherited jewelry between siblings can be difficult and emotional, especially if multiple people want to keep certain pieces.

When making these decisions, it’s important for the personal representative to respect the deceased’s wishes as much as possible while also providing for a fair distribution of the estate’s assets. For instance, a family member that wants to keep a valuable piece of jewelry may elect to give up a portion of their monetary inheritance to ensure all siblings receive an equal share of the estate. 

What If Siblings Fight Over the Jewelry?

If siblings fight over jewelry that is part of the estate of a deceased parent and there is no guidance in the will or trust on how it should be distributed, a creative solution may be the best choice. One option would be to rotate possession of certain pieces of jewelry between the siblings who want it while maintaining shared ownership. Or, it may be better to simply sell all the jewelry and split the proceeds.

Even if you hope to resolve the situation amicably, it’s always a good idea to involve a probate litigation attorney as soon as a dispute arises. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate with your siblings to reach a mutually-agreeable compromise, and, if you cannot come to an understanding, they can help represent your interests in court. 

Have questions? We’re happy to discuss.
Call (424) 320-9444 or email [email protected]

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The Definitive Guide to Partition Actions
The Penalty for Stealing from an Estate
The Disinherited Child’s Guide to Getting an Inheritance

About RMO Lawyers, LLP

RMO LLP provides personal and efficient inheritance dispute services to individual and institutional clients. The firm’s attorneys focus on probate litigation involving contested trust, estate, probate, and conservatorship matters. Serving California and Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, the Bay Area, Dallas, and Houston. For more information, please visit https://rmolawyers.com/.

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About the Author

Meagan A. Paisley, Attorney

Meagan A. Paisley is an attorney with RMO LLP, where she leads the firm’s client relationship team.  In this role, Meagan guides clients and community team members with a warm, empathetic and attuned approach that provides a strategy and a sense of relief to those embroiled in emotional and complex probate, trust, estate, conservatorship and inheritance disputes.

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