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Navigating Inheritance: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions

Receiving an inheritance can create a mix of emotions, combining the sense of loss with newfound financial possibilities. Whether it’s a cherished family heirloom or a substantial sum of money, careful consideration is essential to make the most of this gift.


When you find yourself in this situation, there are several crucial factors to consider ensuring that you make the best decisions for the future.


  1. Understand the Assets: Begin by gaining a comprehensive understanding of what you’ve inherited. This could include financial assets such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and real estate properties. Take stock of physical assets like jewelry, artwork, and vehicles. This will serve as a foundation for your decision-making process.


  1. Seek Professional Guidance: Enlisting the assistance of professionals such as financial advisors, attorneys, and accountants can be crucial. They can help you navigate the legal and financial complexities of inheritance, ensuring that you make well-informed choices that align with your long-term goals. They can provide objective thinking during a time that may be very emotional for you.


  1. Understand Tax Implications: Different inheritances may be subject to various tax regulations. Consult with tax professionals to understand any potential tax liabilities associated with your inheritance. This will help you plan effectively and avoid unexpected financial burdens. Paying taxes when they are due, and you have the assets to pay them, is much better than being blind-sided by an unexpected tax bill sometime in the future.


  1. Pay Off Debts and Plan Wisely: If you have outstanding debts, consider using a portion of the inheritance to settle them. Once you have a clear financial slate, you can decide how to use the remaining funds wisely. It might involve saving for long-term goals, investing, a philanthropic endeavor, or a once in a lifetime event.


  1. Reflect on Your Goals: Take some time to reflect on your personal and financial goals. Whether it’s buying a home, furthering your education, or retiring comfortably, align your inheritance decisions with your aspirations. Crafting a well-thought-out plan will help you achieve your objectives.


  1. Diversification and Investments: If your inheritance includes financial assets, consider diversifying your investment portfolio. This can help you manage risk and potentially enhance your returns over time. Consult with financial experts to create a strategy tailored to your risk tolerance and financial goals. Be very wary of friends or family members who suddenly offer you the investment opportunity of a lifetime.


  1. Preserve Sentimental Value: Inheritances might also come in the form of sentimental items that hold deep emotional value. While these may not have substantial financial worth, their sentimental worth can be immeasurable. Ensure that you take steps to preserve and protect these items, passing down the family legacy to future generations.


  1. Be Patient and take time to think: Resist the urge to make hasty decisions in the wake of receiving an inheritance. Take your time to evaluate options and consider seeking advice from multiple sources. This will prevent impulsive choices that could have long-term consequences.

Inheriting assets is a significant life event that requires careful consideration and planning. By understanding the assets, seeking professional advice, and making informed decisions, you can get the most out of your inheritance while honoring the legacy of those who left it to you.

Source: Centsai, Accessed on 11/14/23


DISCLOSURE: Investment advisory services are offered through Gretchen Stangier, Inc. DBA Stangier Wealth Management (“Stangier Wealth Management”), an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Stangier Wealth Management only offers investment advisory services where it is appropriately registered or exempt from registration and only after clients have entered into an investment advisory agreement confirming the terms of engagement and have been provided copies of the firm’s ADV Part 2A brochure and Part 3 documents.

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