Heirlooms

Generally, heirlooms are returned to the person whose family gifted the asset. Often, based upon the (incorrect, in my view) pronouncements of Reeves v. Reeves, there is little to discern in that the properties are perceived as "non-marital". But what if you are faced with a situation where valuation of an heirloom is arguable or makes sense? My first choice in these situations has been an avoidance of valuation since, most of the time, the asset will not be sold. It is something the family treasures and is a way to link the generations of a family. In this, this quality of an heirloom has no "reasonably ascertainable present value"--- it does not have economic content---and it may be most appropriate as an unvalued item. 

More often than not (healthy) litigants just consent that an item "should remain in the family" and leave it at that. In those other instances I have suggested a formal agreement that (a) the item will be left to a child or appropriate heir at some designated time and (b) if the item is sold by a party the division of the proceeds will be split in some percentage. On occasion the heirloom has been "traded" for some other issue in a case and, indeed, I donít recall ever having to place a formal value on such an item. See also Collectibles.