Large Inheritance Can Bring Some Unexpected Problems

Nov 23, 2018 | Estate Plan, Inheritance, Probate

Many people will want to help you, while others want to get help from you.

Receiving a large amount of money, such as an inheritance, can solve many problems in your life, as well as bring you many new opportunities. It can also bring some problems, such as attempted contact from many, many sources willing to step up and help you with the money, according to Edmonds Beacon in “Take your time, plan wisely when you inherit.”

Because a will in this situation often goes through probate, the heir and the amount of money is public knowledge. The tension begins when people you don’t know—and some that you do—start calling with propositions. Sales calls come from shady operators, unknown and known financial advisors and long-lost cousins. The first thing you need is the financial and legal equivalent of a 10-foot-tall fence, complete with sentries.

Most big lottery winners are flat broke, several years after their big wins. Without the right help, it’s easy to go through this kind of money. Don’t rush and don’t be rushed into anything.

If you have children or grandchildren, they could benefit from this inheritance. Start by meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney. Your attorney will talk with you about the many tools, including trusts, that can be used to safeguard the inheritance for coming generations. You’ll also want to make sure your estate plan is up to date and that it includes having powers of attorney for financial and health matters.

You’ll also need a professional tax advisor, which is likely to be a CPA, and a financial advisor. Take your time in researching and checking references for these individuals and their firms. They should be working with your estate planning attorney as part of an integrated team. Having three advisors sounds like a lot. However, it actually works well: all three have knowledge in their fields and can serve as checks and balances on your behalf.

Draw up a roadmap for your life and action plan. Now that you don’t have to work for a living, do you want to continue working for other reasons, like satisfaction or service? Have you always dreamed of traveling? Is there a cause that matters to you?

And, don’t forget to deal with the tax side of this situation. Will there be earnings from the investments you make with the inheritance, and what will your tax liability be now? Should you pay off your existing mortgage or buy a new home?

There will be many questions, so proceed slowly.

Reference: Edmonds Beacon (Oct. 10, 2018) “Take your time, plan wisely when you inherit”