Taking Charge of an Inheritance

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By Colleen Hasey Schuhmann, CRPC Special to The Pineapple It’s not uncommon to feel mixed emotions upon receiving an inheritance—possibly a combination of good fortune as well as sadness at the loss of a loved one. Few of our clients, however, realize that managing an inheritance can also be stressful. For example, some clients aren’t sure of the best way to handle their new wealth and may struggle with its impact on their current lifestyle. You have many decisions ahead of you, and we’re happy to help you navigate the process. The following information may help get you started. The first piece of advice we give clients who have inherited significant wealth is “take your time.” Before making big decisions, you may need time to grieve for the loved one you have lost, sort through what they’ve left, and assess your own perspectives on investments, spending, even gifting to others. We’ve found that many of our clients benefit from having the opportunity to reflect on their new financial situation and to consider the current and future impact on themselves and others. In the meantime, it’s best to park any liquid assets in safe, accessible vehicles like a bank account, money market fund or short- term certificates of deposit. If you inherit stocks, bonds or mutual funds, we can help you consider whether to simply maintain the existing investment plan until you’re ready to implement a plan of your own, or determine if there are certain assets that warrant more immediate attention based on your risk tolerance. And if you receive real estate or other physical assets, make sure that the home or other property is maintained and kept secure until you decide what to do with it. Understand what your additional wealth can mean for your life Depending on the amount you inherit, your new wealth may be lifechanging. We can talk about how your lifestyle may change, or help plan for things you’ve always wanted to have or do. Ultimately, you may decide to use part of your wealth to help family members, secure your retirement, start a new business, give to charities or even fund a charitable foundation. Some clients, for example, have always been actively involved with philanthropy and want to do even more once they are financially able. Others would rather direct their assets to help future generations. We can help you implement your decisions with greater confidence once you have considered the impact of your many options. Balance emotional and practical needs Some of our clients find it difficult to part with certain possessions of their benefactors, such as a piece of art or a grandparent’s classic car. Those sentiments have even extended to certain stocks or the vacation home where they spent summers as a child. You may feel the same way about assets you’ve inherited, or you may want to sell them and use the proceeds to pay for college, minimize debt or meet other goals. Together, we can assess your options and help you make thoughtful decisions on whether to keep, sell or even donate what you have inherited. Sometimes, an asset is left to more than one individual, as when siblings inherit a family home. In cases like this, advanced planning and discussions may provide clarity on how the inherited asset is to be shared, utilized or transferred. Alternatively, conflict can result between siblings with different values, lifestyles or levels of wealth. We are available to explore strategies that can honor your loved one’s memory, balance potentially competing wishes, and still meet your financial needs. Colleen Hasey Schuhmann, CRPC, is Vice President – Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services in Boca Raton. She specializes in all facets of your financial life, including retirement planning, portfolio management, life insurance and long term care planning, and estate planning strategies. Colleen can be reached at 561-367-1817.