Top Tips for Giving or Receiving an Inheritance

Giving and receiving are hot topics during this time of year, and you’ve probably done your fair share of both this holiday season.

Of course, the nice thing about gifts around a tree is that you have some sense of what to expect when the big day comes around. Unless your loved ones are especially creative wrappers, you can probably distinguish a jewelry box from a new appliance before you rip a single ribbon.

Inheritances, meanwhile, don’t offer that same sort of visual foreshadowing. Because death isn’t a topic people enjoy discussing around the dinner table, relatives are often clueless as to how much they might stand to inherit someday. Likewise, estate planners might not have an inkling as to what their loved ones expect to receive.

Naturally, though inheritances arrive under unfortunate circumstances, they can be a real financial boon for some families. To that end, Financial Advisor magazine recently ran some guidelines for those who want to ensure that they’re in a gift giver’s good graces. We highlight a few of those tips below:

• Talk about intentions. There is no reason for families to stay in the dark. Ask what’s in your loved ones’ estate plan (or, just as importantly, whether they even have an estate plan at all — and it is up to date?). The topic may be difficult to broach, but it’s a conversation worth having.

• Don’t obsess. Conversations are good; badgering is bad. One way to scare off an inheritance is to constantly bring it up. Don’t let money get in the way of a healthy relationship

• Time is the best currency. Children are sometimes surprised to find themselves cut out of a parent’s will, or otherwise receiving a reduced inheritance. The biggest reason for that? Neglect. Life gets busy, but make time for the people you love.

• Conditions create conflict. This one cuts both ways. If you’re creating an estate plan, you can condition the inheritance in almost any way that you see fit — just know that your beneficiaries might resent some of those conditions. Likewise, if you’re anticipating an inheritance, don’t try to barter for a bigger share by leveraging your companionship or affection.

• Respect your elders. Sometimes, the oldest advice is the best advice. The elderly face a lot of challenges as they grow old, and your patience can be a tremendous help in their time of need. Understand that life is changing for them. Don’t resist that change. Be a part of it instead.

Inheritance is a tricky subject, and it’s important to handle it delicately. At Medina Law Group, we can help you create an estate plan that puts your best intentions into effect without springing any unforeseen surprises on your loved ones.

Making a fair and balanced estate plan isn’t easy, but with experienced guidance, you can craft exactly the right legacy. We bring years of experience to the table, with real-world insight that can mean all the difference later down the line. Contact us today.