FAQs – Expecting an Inheritance

In my previous post, I explained why receiving an inheritance changes your estate plan (read here). Today, I will address some frequently asked questions regarding inheritances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I tell my estate planner I’m expecting an inheritance?

Yes. While some people are hesitant to count their chickens before they hatch, looping your estate planner into your full financial picture is the best way to prepare for whatever the future may hold. By planning ahead, you can help ensure that whatever is left to you will be protected and able to be enjoyed for years to come. With all of the emotions that surround the passing of a loved one, you’ll be able to focus on grieving and the administration process, without having the additional worries of how you will handle your finances.

What will happen to my plan if I don’t actually receive the inheritance?

If you expected to a receive an inheritance and ultimately do not, your financial and estate plans can be revised to take the change into account. I like to think of estate planning as a process rather than a one-time event. Your plan must evolve over time to ensure a continued management of the assets you have, not just the ones you had when the plan was originally prepared.

How do I ask my family if I’m getting an inheritance?

Money can be a taboo subject in some families. Broaching this subject with your family may be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is necessary.  Start the conversation during a relatively stress-free time rather than springing it on a family member during the chaotic holiday season or before a big family celebration.

Instead of focusing solely on what you are to receive as your inheritance, you can discuss it as part of a larger conversation regarding your loved ones’ future plans for their health and overall well-being. You can begin by inquiring as to what type of planning they have already done. Have they designated agents under Financial or Medical Powers of Attorney to act on their behalf should they become incapacitated? Do they have a living will in place to assist with end-of-life decisions? While planning for an inheritance may be your main focus, this conversation can help ensure that your loved one is protected as well.

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