Inheriting wealth comes with its own set of challenges and emotions, whether it’s a modest amount or a significant amount. A recent article from Kiplinger, “Three Essential Strategies for Managing Your Inheritance,” explains three key considerations to help manage an inheritance responsibly.
Understanding tax implications. Taxes take a bite out of inherited wealth and require the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you through the maze of taxes. The type of assets inherited, and the laws of your state will affect tax liabilities. For the most part, life insurance proceeds are tax-free. However, inherited retirement accounts, including traditional IRAs or 401(k)s, are not.
Federal estate tax exemptions are still extremely high. However, there may be state estate taxes or inheritance taxes to consider.
Confusion about taxes often occurs because the rules differ for diverse asset types. Inherited IRAs, for instance, may be taxed heavily if the withdrawals are not appropriately managed. Understanding the rules makes all the difference.
Investing? Act wisely. Sudden wealth often causes people to act irresponsibly. It’s tempting to take a risk with investments. However, wealth can evaporate very quickly if not managed with care and prudence. Before making any big financial decisions, evaluate your overall financial picture. Wealth may be best used to pay off debt, invest, and save for the future.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, this is the time to establish one, enhance retirement savings, and rid yourself of any debt. You’ll want to chart a course to balance growth with wealth preservation.
Make a long-term plan for the future. A large inheritance can substantially impact your life goals and retirement plans. It’s an excellent opportunity to reassess your finances and consider making adjustments. Is early retirement your goal? Are there charitable causes you’d like to support? If you have or plan to have children, could your inheritance be used for their college education?
An inheritance is also a time to ensure that your estate plan is in place. This includes trusts, wills, and health care directives to manage and protect your wealth. An inheritance of any size requires estate planning to protect yourself and your family.
Estate planning goes beyond having a will. It’s about ensuring assets are distributed according to your wishes. Trusts are excellent tools for managing wealth and allow for control over how assets are used by future generations, in addition to providing tax benefits and creditor protection.
If you need help setting up a complete and comprehensive estate plan that takes into account all your concerns and desires, consider consulting estate planning professionals. The Werner Law Firm probate attorneys in Los Angeles can guide you through the intricate details and help you make the best choices for your family's legacy.
If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page. We would be happy to see how we can help.
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Reference: Kiplinger (Dec. 8, 2023) “Three Essential Strategies for Managing Your Inheritance”
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