Inheriting Money? Considerations for Handling It

bag of money - inheritance

After receiving an inheritance, you need to determine how to incorporate those assets, whether stocks, bonds, real estate or some other asset, into your finances. Consider these points during the process:

Determine what you will receive and when. Inheritances typically don't come in the form of one check. You're likely to receive the inheritance in pieces over a period of time. Work with the estate's executor to determine what you're likely to receive and when.

Resist the urge to spend the inheritance. You may be tempted to spend the inheritance on a new car, an extravagant vacation, remodeling your kitchen or other things you never had the money for. First take a look at how the inheritance would help with longer-term goals, such as funding retirement or the college education of your children.

Decide how the assets fit in with what you already have. If an inheritance is significant, it may drastically alter your asset allocation. First, you need to decide if your original asset allocation is still appropriate and then determine how to move closer to your targeted allocation.

Understand the tax implications of an inheritance. If you sell inherited assets soon after receiving them, will you face a large capital gains tax bill? Your tax advisor can help you decide if selling or holding is the best approach in your situation.

Review each inherited asset to determine whether it is appropriate for your financial goals. Consider selling those that won't meet your financial goals or that you don't have the expertise to manage. Don't keep inherited assets for sentimental reasons. Keep in mind that selling doesn't mean you're questioning the investment capabilities of the person from whom you inherited the property. It's more a matter of economic sense.

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