The Gem Lab I.C.G.A.  an Independent American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratory

The Family Jewels - A Guide to Planning Your Jewelry Estate

Things to Keep in Mind
A short article like this can only begin to provide you with some basic information. You should always consult a qualified estate planner, attorney & CPA before following this or any advice; and always plan ahead.

What Can We Do for You?
Depending on the specific goals of your estate plan and precisely how it is set up, your jewelry appraisal needs may vary. Likewise, they will change over time and at each stage of the plan’s execution. In some cases, we can simply “update” one report type into another by researching a different market for correct values. By no means is every possibility covered by this brochure so please call or email with your specific needs.

Estate Planning Basics
Wills: are the most basic of the estate planning tools, and probably the most common. They can be very simple or very complex. Wills can offer nearly the same planning flexibility and control of the disposition of an estate as a Trust.

Trusts: are becoming more popular as people discover the flexibility they offer as tools for planning and managing an estate. There are many different types of trusts that can be customized to fit your needs and desires for your estate & heirs. The initial expense of establishing and ongoing expense of managing some types of trusts may not make a trust the ideal solution for everyone; only you and your estate planner can decide.

Appraisals, ETC.

Appraisals submitted to the IRS must meet very exacting standards, with substantial penalties for noncompliance. Changes in the law in 2006 redefined who may perform appraisals for tax functions; Mark exceeds those standards. The Gem Lab I.C.G.A. offers many services that may be customized to meet your specific needs. Please call or visit our Gem Lab Services page for detailed information.

Inventory Report: An inventory provides descriptions and digital images but NO VALUE is given. It can be as detailed as you’d like and can include a Jewelry Genealogy Report®. It may be the basis for a later report or some types of appraisal or you could use it to simply document an estate or inventory a trust.

Qualitative Analysis Report: This grading report is the basis for all types of appraisals and provides information about the quality of the workmanship, metal, gemstones and diamonds. Digital images are included but there is NO VALUE information provided.

Insurance Appraisal: This summary appraisal report is only valid for insuring your jewelry. Insurance appraisal values are always inappropriate and inaccurate for use in the division of an estate. Our appraisals include detailed descriptions, precise qualitative analysis, digital images and carefully researched retail replacement valuations. Poorly written, out of date or inflated value appraisals are useless and can cost you money.

Equitable Division Appraisal: This appraisal can help assure that your estate is divided fairly. “Insurance” values are inappropriate and will result in unequal shares. Either the current Market Value or the Marketable Cash Value in the correct secondary market is provided along with detailed descriptions, digital images and precise qualitative analysis.

Jewelry Genealogy Report®: We can include your family and personal history as part of many of the reports we offer; to preserve for future generations the sentimental value of “the family jewels”.

Estate Tax Liability Appraisal: This self-contained appraisal meets all IRS & Treasury requirements of a “Qualified Appraisal” for estate tax liability. The valuation date must be either the date of death or the alternate valuation date. If your estate will be subject to estate tax; we can help you prepare in advance for this IRS required & complex appraisal.

Charitable Contribution for Tax Deduction Appraisal: This self-contained appraisal also meets all IRS and Treasury requirements. We suggest having all donated items appraised in the event of a dispute or audit; even if the value is below the threshold at which an appraisal must be filed with the return.

Gift Tax Liability Appraisal: This self-contained appraisal also meets IRS and Treasury requirements for determining tax liability for a non-cash gift that exceeds the threshold value.


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