4 Great Reasons to Get Jewellery Appraised

estate jewelleryWhen you’ve been appointed an executor, one of the many challenges you’ll face is establishing the value of the estate for probate purposes.  Often jewellery has a significant emotional and financial impact resulting in how potential beneficiaries view its value.  I don’t believe sentimental value can have a dollar sign attached to it so a professional appraisal needs to be done. So to protect the interests of the estate, executor and beneficiaries, I’ve asked Christine Driussi to help guide you on the various aspects of appraisals and their benefits. Below are 4 great reasons to get your jewellery appraised.

Christine DriussiHello everyone, I am Christine Driussi. Everyone should be aware of their personal assets. I believe that all jewellery should be documented for the following reasons:

1. Appraisals aid in purchasing the most suitable homeowner’s insurance policy

2. Appraising personal items is proof of ownership, should receipts be unavailable

3. Appraisals can travel easily

4. Appraisals help to settle estates and disputes.

When a jewellery item is purchased at a retail store, it is often accompanied by an appraisal for insurance purposes.  The customer is usually shocked to discover that the value is much more than the purchase price. Why is this? Let me attempt to explain…

Firstly, insurance appraisals are completed to “indemnify” a client.  The Insurance Company insures the item in the event of loss or damage.  Since future damage or loss can occur, a responsible Gemmologist, will add a surplus to the original purchase price, to cover increasing commodity prices either of metals or gemstones.

The Insurance Company charges a premium based on the appraisal value. Most homeowner’s policies have blanket jewellery coverage, however this coverage, which is also known as “unscheduled jewellery coverage” is subject to policy limits and a deductible.  This is the reason that it is prudent to schedule valuables on a separate jewellery rider.

Copies of insurance appraisals can be used as travel documents to prove that an item of jewellery was naturalized in Canada prior to departure.

There is another type of appraisal which the general public should be made aware of; the probate appraisal. The purpose of a probate appraisal is to settle personal assets in the case of divorce or death.

The probate appraisal’s value is two fold; initially, a replacement value is allocated, then a “forced sale or scrap value” is allocated.  The value can be as low as 10% and as high as 25% of the replacement for insurance purposes.

Gold and diamonds trade well on the secondary market and can be recycled for new jewellery. Pearls, however, do not fetch strong values in the secondary market, as they cannot be refine.

In the case of death, what good is a will if you haven’t catalogued and listed your assets, or even worse, hidden them in the house?

Safe guard your jewellery!!! Have your pieces appraised, wear them proudly, make good memories wearing them, and finally bequeath them to someone special in your memory.

Christine Driussi, F.C.Gm.A., Gem & Jewels 
“bringing the art of gemology to your door”

If you have any questions or concerns on valuing the jewellery in your life, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine directly.  She’s the expert with the answers.

I’d love your feedback! if you have other questions related to being an executor, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a message for me right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you reading this on the website.

Until next time,



Death and Your Social Media/Online Presence

social media deathHaving Power of Attorney (POA) and being an Executor for a number of clients, the topic of Social Media and ones online presence is always brought into the conversation by me.  When discussing death and who gets the cottage or the dog, how to inform friends, family, customers and vendors who know you and keep in touch electronically is constantly being overlooked.

This is even more critical if your online presence is e-commerce supplying products, services and subscriptions.  Who do you trust to leave all the access information and passwords to? Death does not have to be the only reason to stop and consider this. If you become incapacitated, who can continue to sell and inform on your behalf? And what do you want your final Facebook or Twitter posting to be – “just heading to the hospital, hope to be out before the hockey game starts”? How do you want your legacy to read?

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Understanding Bereavement


I’ve been a longtime volunteer for Doane House Hospice. During that time I’ve participated in many of the positions required to support a not-for-profit organization.  I first started by taking the Palliative Care courses then became a visiting volunteer, Board Member, Treasurer, chaired the Oasis Day Programme and participated on the fundraising committee. One of the services they offer is the Bereavement Programme. For a number of years I’ve wanted to be part of this valuable arm of the organization but my schedule and the training schedule never seemed to coincide, until just recently. A couple of weeks ago I participated in the Bereavement Facilitator Training course.

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5 Facts regarding the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit

Death BenefitsWhen you’re responsible for handling the estate paperwork of someone who has recently died there is a lot to be aware of, and do, no matter the size of the estate.  Here are 5 facts regarding the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit (Death Benefit) and how best to proceed. These comments are not taking into consideration if the deceased contributed to the Quebec Pension Plan.

1)    If there is a will, the Executer named in the will to administer the estate must apply for the Death Benefit within 60 days of the date of death.  If there is no will or the Executor did not did not apply within 60 days of the date of death, one of the following persons should apply;

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No Will, No Way

21427529_sLast week I spoke to a friend whose father had suddenly and tragically died a few days earlier.  It’s sad on so many levels but in this case he had a complete physical, with no indication his health was compromised, one week prior to having a massive heart attack and dying within minutes. After a tearful conversation it really struck me that with No Will there is No Way the healing process for her and her family will begin and end quickly.  His passing is almost a guideline as to what should not happen if you leave loved ones behind.

1)    His last will was prepared while he was still married, 20 years ago.  The divorce was finalized 12 years ago but as it stands his ex-wife will receive the house and is also the beneficiary to his company life insurance plan. It appears the lawyer that handled the divorce did not suggest that a new will be prepared or guide him on other areas to consider after a major life change.  Based on other family members and friends that have used the same lawyer this is not something she has suggested to them in the past either.

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5 Things That Will Impact the Future Valuation of Your New Business

bigstock-Monitoring-company-balance-dyn-26891951If you recall in last week’s blog, we began running a series of posts on Business Valuation. Continuing on this subject this week, we will talk about 5 things that will impact the future valuation of your new business.

You have worked hard, you have built a wonderful successful business, and now you are ready to sell it and use it as a foundation for your retirement.  You feel your business is worth $1,000,000.00 based on your sales and projected earnings that you would make if you were to continue running the business.  You take your documents to a valuation expert and they come back and inform you that the business is worth only $250,000.00  How did this happen and why is the business valued so low in comparison to what you thought it should be?

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3 Important Things to Include in Your End-of-Business Plan

17323643_sIt is important for all business owners to have legal operating documents in place, including an End-of-Business plan that addresses what happens to the business if the owner can no longer run it. It should cover what happens if you retire, die, are disabled, or otherwise can’t operate your business. Below are 3 things to include in your End-of-Business plan and why they are important. Continue reading

3 Big Estate Planning Mistakes

bigstock-Couple-On-Bench-3635052Recently I have spoken to a number of people about their end-of-life planning. A few have said “what do I care? I’ll be gone and the estate can pay for everything”, and others want to leave everything organized and not be a burden after their demise.  While I commend those that want to make the job of the Trustee as convenient as possible I still see areas that are overlooked when it comes to planning the estate.  The following are 3 big estate planning mistakes we should all be aware of.

1)    Where’s the Will? Continue reading

Why Should I be Concerned About a Business Will Now?

The 2011 Ontario budget[1], delivered by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan on March 29, 2011, contained a budget proposal that will significantly alter the way in which the Ontario Estate Administration Tax (“EAT”) is assessed and collected. The amendments to the Ontario Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 (the “EAT Act”) announced in the 2011 Budget received Royal Assent on May 12, 2011. Although these amendments will not generally take effect before January 1, 2013, estate trustees and their advisors should be aware of the new tax audit and collection regime and the potentially severe consequences for non-compliance.

The most significant of the amendments to the EAT Act are as follows:

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3 Common Questions Asked by Beneficiaries

4428432_sWhether you know well in advance that you are a beneficiary in someone’s will or it comes as a surprise, there are usually 3 questions asked by Beneficiaries.

1. Timing

How soon will I get my money (or other inheritance)?

It certainly does not happen as quickly as it appears on television shows.

The Executor or Trustee is responsible for disbursing the inheritance and has numerous tasks to complete before distributing any funds or assets. There are also a number of reasons that could delay receiving your inheritance in a timely manner:

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