Easy steps you can take after receiving an inheritance

 

Receiving an inheritance can be a weighty and sometimes unexpected responsibility. Whether it’s property, money, or assets passed down to you, managing an inheritance effectively requires careful consideration, planning, and often professional advice to ensure your future is set on a solid foundation.

This article walks you through the various steps you should consider when it comes to the financial, legal, and personal aspects of handling an inheritance in Australia.

 

Step 1: Understanding and Accepting the Inheritance

The first necessary step is to determine whether it’s in your best interest to accept the inheritance. There are several implications to consider, including potential taxes, maintenance costs (if it’s property), and the overall value of the assets. This decision might seem straightforward, but it’s often complex and can have long-term impacts on your financial well-being.

Consult with financial advisers and accountants to understand the full scope of the inheritance and evaluate how it fits into your overall financial picture. Understand the debts and obligations attached to the estate, as accepting an inheritance may involve accepting these as well. Once you’ve made an informed decision, acceptance is typically formalised through completing the required state probate forms for the assets.

 

Step 2: Engage Legal Professionals

Inheritances generally involve the clearance of legal hurdles, and it’s advisable to engage legal professionals early in the process. There are various legal considerations that need to be addressed, including:

  • Probate Requirements: Some assets may require a grant of probate to be transferred effectively.
  • Dealing with Executors: If an executor has been appointed, you’ll work closely with them to manage the estate’s affairs.
  • Taxes and Inheritance Laws: There may be tax implications on your inheritance, so it’s crucial to understand Australian tax laws and the potential impact on your financial and tax planning.

A legal adviser specialising in estate law can guide you through these complexities and ensure that the inheritance is managed in compliance with all legal requirements.

 

Step 3: Financial Planning

Effective financial management is key to making the most of your inheritance. It’s essential to:

  • Assess Your Financial Goals: Take the time to think about your long-term financial goals and how the inheritance can help you achieve them.
  • Work with Financial Advisors: Professionals can advise you on investment opportunities, tax implications, and the best strategies to manage and grow your wealth.
  • Create an Estate Plan: If you receive a significant inheritance, it might be wise to update or create an estate plan to protect and pass on your assets according to your wishes.

Gina Hemmings, shares that “Inheritances can often provide an opportunity to re-evaluate your long-term financial strategy. It’s a significant life event that should be considered in the broader context of your financial goals and plans.”

 

Step 4: Personal Reflection and Decision Making

Receiving an inheritance is not just about maximising wealth; it’s also an opportunity to reflect on your values and decide how you want to shape your future, and that of your family. Considerations might include charitable giving, contributions to education or health, and ensuring a legacy that goes beyond financial assets.

 

Managing an inheritance is a considerable responsibility, and while it can be a time of grief, it’s important to approach it with care, thoughtfulness, and an eye toward the future. By taking steps to understand, plan, and reflect on the impact of an inheritance, you can ensure its legacy benefits you and the generations to come. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and to take your time in making decisions that align with your values and goals.

If you would like to improve your current investment strategies or are looking to start your investment journey, click here to organise a complimentary 20-minute phone call with an EPG Wealth adviser.

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