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Receiving an inheritance often accompanies a highly emotional time. It may even create more financial stress than it relieves. You'll never regret taking a little time to decide how to use your inheritance wisely.

Understanding your inheritance

An inheritance can arrive in many forms. Before you make any major financial decisions, you may wish to talk over the details with an attorney, a financial advisor and tax professional. You'll want to find out:

  • What type of assets you will receive. A house, other real estate, a business, stocks and bonds, or life insurance? What is the estimated value?
  • When the assets will be available — immediately or distributed over time?
  • What taxes might apply to these assets?

Think about your future goals

Identifying your financial goals can provide important cues to managing your new funds. If you received your inheritance from your spouse, partner or other close family member, you may want to consider how you might carry out a legacy or continue shared goals. Additional possibilities for your inheritance:

  • Adding to your retirement savings
  • Paying for a family member's or your own education
  • Helping out loved ones
  • Contributing to a favorite charity
  • Setting up a trust or foundation
  • Paying off debt

Preserve your inheritance wealth

Added wealth can come with additional tax and insurance  implications. A financial advisor can help you decide what may be relevant to your situation.