The Case of the Diamond Ring

The Case of the Diamond Ring

Rick Kozlowski recently defended an heir to an estate involving a potentially valuable diamond ring.  The facts are tragic: the heir (Susan), was one of three daughters of the decedent who committed suicide.  Before ending his life, the decedent placed three items of jewelry into three separate envelopes.  He wrote the name of each daughter on each of the envelopes.  In Susan’s envelope was the diamond ring.  

Each daughter took her item of jewelry, knowing what was in the envelopes received by their siblings (they opened the envelopes in front of one another).   The siblings knew the ring was the most valauble of the three items of jewelry.  The estate was probated and closed. 

Five years after the decedent’s death, Susan contacted one of her sisters — to ask for help in getting the ring appraised (Susan was fearful of losing the diamond).  They went to the jewelers, and were informed that the ring might be a rare green diamond, potentially worth more than a million dollars.  Susan’s sisters claimed that they should share in this potential windfall, and instituted an action in probate court to obtain joint ownership of the ring.   

After a long fight, Rick successfully defended this action on the grounds that Susan’s sister knew the ring was more valauble that the jewelry they received, and that they had one year to bring an action for any mistake as to the ring’s value.  Susan kept the ring (but the case has been appealed . . . stay tuned) 

Rick’s practice focuses on estate planing and corporate transactions. For more information, you can access Rick’s contact information contact information here, or send him an email.