Thursday, August 30, 2012

Death and Taxes


There is a saying, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes,” usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it could be someone else. There are of course other certainties in life, such as who will inherit your stuff when you die? I know this is a depressing topic and something that no one wants to think about, but it is necessary. I’ve recently had a death in the family and while there was not an inheritance issue it does put the burden on their spouse for now on. It got me to thinking.


When someone passes there can be unfortunate miscommunication regarding what to do with personal belonging. This can include jewelry and watches. If these items have more sentimental value than monetary value there may only be hurt feeling if someone gets a piece that another coveted. The problems can arise if a piece has a large monetary value. How do you divide up an expensive diamond ring among several children? You can’t of course, but you can make it clear where each piece should go upon your death.

You are really special if you inherit this coffee table
If you have a piece of jewelry that is not only expensive but something you want to keep in the family, make sure you do not give it to someone who might not have the same idea. It is common for people to receive jewelry that they do not like, will not wear and has little emotional attachment to them. These are the pieces that languish in a jewelry box or the bottom of the drawer. They are also the pieces that end up at gold buying establishments or are dismembered and refashioned.


Don’t get me wrong I understand that there may be some very unattractive jewelry out there, but the giver needs to know the intent of the receiver. If the receiver tells the giver that they may melt down the piece for cash the giver might reconsider their bequest with this additional information. I know people who have had a piece of jewelry that was passed down for several generations only to have its family ties broken when it is sold by a recent inheritor who wanted the money more. I’m sure that was not the giver's intent. So think about what you own and who you think should have it upon your death. It might save a lot of unwanted grief in the end.

While beautiful it might not be for everyone


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