If it’s handled and managed properly, an inheritance can be a blessing. But if not, this windfall of new assets can easily become a curse, and can actually lead to a surprising avalanche of financial problems. Too often, unprepared recipients of an inheritance mismanage and squander their assets very quickly, often due to creditor issues, tax problems, or general inexperience. Smart estate planning can prevent this possibility, so if you’re expecting to receive an inheritance in the near future, talk to an estate planning attorney about your goals and intentions.
Inheritances Can Affect Estate Plans
An inheritance can change your approach to asset management, and it can lead to dramatic changes in your tax status and financial planning needs. You can also find yourself exposed to lawsuits if you’re perceived as having deep pockets and the assets are not otherwise protected in a trust structure. If you’re not an experienced investor and you haven’t made substantial money decisions in the past, you’ll want to set up safeguards for your new wealth.
You’ll also need to update your estate plan so that it reflects your new position and goals.
This can be especially important in you have a blended family, or if the increase in your assets will likely move you from a non-taxable to a taxable estate. This change occurs when an estate value exceeds $11.4 million, or when your estate plan involves a charitable management/protection strategy. If managed properly, the assets in your inheritance can be put to work for you and can help you reach your newly revised long and short-term financial goals.
Preserving Family Wealth
As you arrange your estate plan in preparation for your inheritance, you’ll also want to keep a specific goal in mind: preserving and sustaining your family’s wealth. Statistics show that this task may be harder than it seems. In fact, about 70 percent of wealthy families lose their inheritance by the second generation and up to 90 percent lose it by the third. So it’s a good idea to get professional support and take proactive steps to prevent this from happening.
Start by paving the way for open, honest communication within the family. Hiding information or attempting to manipulate younger family members can lead to problems down the road; trouble often starts when older family members assume that disclosure, discussion and preparation will make younger members feel lazy and unambitious.
Instead, choose a path of honesty, open conversation, and shared effort, and your wealth will be more likely to last. As part of this process, careful estate planning can provide a strong foundation for long term wealth management. Planning and honesty can also help your wealth serve as a family legacy and a social good rather than a burden or societal ill.
Professional Advice Can Bring Positive Results
If you’re expecting to receive an inheritance, take steps to secure financial and legal advice. Schedule an appointment with our team so we can help you preserve and protect your gift to future generations.
Talk to an Estate Planning Professional
Mapping out an estate plan can seem like an intimidating process, but it’s also a necessary part of protecting your financial future and that of your loved ones. If you’re looking for ways to avoid estate and transfer taxes, the inheritors trust may be the right option for you.