Managing an inheritance

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 inheritance planning details with an attorney, a financial advisor and tax professional.

You'll want to find out:

  • Asset type and value. What type of assets will you receive – a house, other real estate, a business, stocks and bonds, retirement plans, IRAs or life insurance? What is the estimated value?
  • Timing of distribution(s). When will the assets be available? Will you receive your inheritance immediately or will it be distributed over time?
  • Tax implications. 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
  • Managing upcoming income and estate taxes
  • 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, insurance and estate planning implications. A financial advisor can help you decide what may be relevant to your situation:


  • If you inherited expensive jewelry or artwork, you may need more property and casualty coverage.
  • You may also need more life insurance to help ensure your beneficiaries receive a greater portion of your estate after taxes.
  • Consider an umbrella liability policy to cover any gaps in your insurance.

Estate planning

  • Update your will to accurately reflect your wishes.
  • If your new wealth is significant, meet with your attorney right away.
  • Consult a financial advisor to help you develop a strategy to help minimize estate taxes for your beneficiaries.
  • If you don't have an estate plan, now may be a good time to create one.

Charitable giving or gifting

  • Identify how you plan to share your inherited wealth with loved ones or donate to a charity.
  • Document all gift transactions.

Get help managing an inheritance

When your life and financial situation changes, working with an Ameriprise financial advisor can help you make informed financial decisions about your inheritance and help you plan for your goals and dreams.