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Tips on how to handle an inheritance

October 21, 2019 ​​6 min read

An inheritance often brings with it grief and other emotions.  Take your time to consider your options.


If you get a financial windfall, don’t be in a rush to decide what to do with it. This advice is especially true when it comes to receiving an inheritance.

Take the time to consider your options 

An inheritance typically comes at the cost of losing someone you love. Grief and other emotions may impact your decision making. Here’s three tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t feel you have to run out and invest it in a financial product or portfolio.
  • Don’t feel the urge to give any of it away. Not yet.
  • And above all, don’t fall into the common trap of spending it willy-nilly. Wait until you identify what it is you really want or need.

Save it

A great option is to stash the money away in a high interest savings account until you have a plan. To make it easier to decide what to do with your windfall, picture your life in 5 or 10 years from when you inherit. Make sure you consider your current age, potential or existing healthcare needs, retirement plans, future living options, and family needs such as educating grandchildren or providing for an aging parent.

Paying off debts

Paying off any debts you may have is possibly the best use of an inheritance. Eliminating debt goes a long way in alleviating stress as well as the burden of paying exorbitant interest rates on borrowed money. Using your inheritance to eliminate this burden makes sense in every way.

Create a ‘Spending Plan’

It’s only human to want to spend a windfall on some luxuries. You can satisfy this urge by setting aside 10% of the inheritance just for pure enjoyment. Take the rest and be more prudent. We’ve all heard stories about those who come into a large amount of wealth, only to lose it all within 5 years. It may take some time to let it all sink in – the loss of a loved one, the sudden wealth, decision making – it’s often a lot to digest. Talk to your financial advisor once you’ve come to terms with receiving an inheritance. They’re always available to assist you in any way possible.