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The Pasternak Sisters


| Andrew Fabrikant

Often in the middle, I have mediated between warring brothers, sisters, step-siblings, second wives, and husbands.  I have watched families break apart over a big diamond.  I have commiserated with caring sisters who suffered because they were the beneficiary of their mother's jewelry, and lost the relationship with their brother who felt slighted. 

It's not uncommon for disagreements between family members over the distribution of an estate.  But there's one particular category of assets that can be particularly sensitive: jewelry.  Jewelry usually is not mentioned or distributed in a will.  Sibling fighting over the distribution of personal assets after a death is the most challenging aspect of handling an estate.  Because of the uneven values of different jewelry items, it is impossible to divide jewelry evenly and often causes unimaginable angst amongst heirs.

The best advice I can offer is that if you have gold, gems, or jewelry and you don’t want sibling rivalry to break your family apart, consider selling your collection now.  Splitting money is much easier than equitably dividing the jewelry.  When it comes to jewelry and its equitable distribution, we have tremendous experience working with families.  We will help you through some of the challenges you may face, discuss how to overcome them, and offer you options for dividing up jewelry when someone passes away. 

Many of the stories I have witnessed would make you cry, and others laugh.  So long as they don’t happen to your family.  

Experience has shown me that few families recover from the fallout over money once there is a breakdown in the family dynamic. If you are not ready to sell your jewelry but are in the process of organizing your estate, have an "Estate Appraisal" or "Fair Market Appraisal" commissioned.  It will prove very beneficial to your heirs. 

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me at