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Receiving an inheritance may be bittersweet. You’ve lost a loved one, and receiving money or property from the person after death may be unexpected. Whether your inheritance is small or substantial, there’s a sense of stewardship upon receiving it. After all, the person who left it to you probably made some sacrifices to accumulate the money or treasured the property for sentimental reasons. It’s best not to make any decisions about an inheritance while you are still grieving.

If your inheritance is a large amount of cash, consult a financial planner before spending any of it. Resist the urge to spend your sudden windfall; instead, review your financial goals and see how this inheritance can bring you closer to achieving them. Financial planners typically recommend investing at least a third of a large sum and using another third to pay off any debt you may have.

Did the inherited asset have special meaning to the deceased or to the family? How should you care for it? Give some consideration as to why the grantor chose you for this bequest. If the bequest is artwork, jewelry, a coin collection, or something of that nature, have it appraised. Knowing its monetary value is good for several reasons: you’ll have a value for insurance purposes, and you’ll learn its market value if you decide to sell it. If the bequest is in shares of stock, be sure to research it before you sell it. A stock sale may have tax consequences for you, so be sure to get professional advice.

While you review your options, park cash in a money market account. Money market accounts typically earn more interest than savings accounts and give you easy access when you’ve made a plan for further allocation. You can increase your return even more with short-term Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Either choice is great protection for the money while you decide what you want to do with it.

Products for this Life Stage:*

Invest in your family’s future.

Inherited money can provide a rare opportunity to create protection for your family and future generations. Learn more about's life insurance options.

Enhance your retirement.

If you’re short on retirement savings, you may wish to invest in an annuity to help secure a more comfortable retirement for yourself.

More Advice for Handling an Inheritance:

Be smart.

You’ll find helpful, related information in several other life event sections, including Getting Out of Debt and Sizeable Income Increase.

See how far it can go.

If you receive even a modest sum of money, plug that value into our Savings Calculator Tool to see how much more it can grow.

Western & Southern Life does not provide tax or legal advice. Please contact your tax or legal advisor regarding your situation.

*Products suggested for this Life Stage are not a specific recommendation or solicitation to purchase.


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Last Updated: 12/14/2017