Have you inherited jewelry from a loved one? Right now, you may be thinking more about the love and sentiment behind this gift than about matters of money. But every heir who receives new — and potentially expensive — items of jewelry should arrange for an appraisal without delay. If this seems somewhat callous to you, consider these five practical reasons to do so.
1. You'll Need to Insure It
The first and foremost reason to understand the true value of any inherited item is to make certain it's properly insured. Expensive jewelry may actually be worth more than the limitations of your homeowner's insurance policy — particularly if you inherited a full collection. You may also need to add a rider to cover specific items in the collection. But you can't insure something well if you don't know what to insure it for.
2. It's Now Part of Your Estate
Now that the jewelry item or collection is in your possession, it forms part of your own future estate. Does this alter your estate planning? Unless you know the value of your new additions, you can't make the best decisions about who you want to leave them to. An appraiser can also help you protect or restore the item for future generations.
3. Family Members May Have Concerns
When un-valued assets are left to certain individuals in estate documents, it can cause tension within the family. If your siblings, for instance, think that you've inherited a very expensive item, they could feel resentful. Conversely, well-meaning family members may feel that you've been left out financially with a measly inheritance. Either way, an independent appraisal could resolve these issues.
4. Values May Have Changed
Even if you think you know what the jewelry is worth, you could be very wrong. Antiques, gems, and metals change in value all the time. Styles become more or less popular. The pricing of materials goes up and down with the economy. And the mood of the collecting community adjusts. This means that the valuation of an item from even a few years ago could be inaccurate today.
5. It May Alter Your Plans
What do you want to do with the items you inherited? If you believe that your grandmother's ring is highly valuable, you may be afraid to wear it. However, if you think that her costume jewelry is worthless, you might let your kids play with it. Unfortunately, if you're wrong about the items' values, any choice could be the wrong one. The only way to make plans that are appropriate for the jewelry is to know what it's worth.
Clearly, a jewelry appraisal is more than just a means to sell an item. It is also the best way to protect it for you and your own heirs. Want to know more? Make an appointment with a jewelry appraisal service in your area today.