The Receiving End of Estate Planning

We post on this Blog often about preparing your estate plan: writing a will, setting up a trust, choosing beneficiaries, selecting agents for power of attorney; but there is another side to estate planning, a "fun" side… the receiving end.

You may assume that the receiving end of estate planning is the fun and easy part, but that is not always the case. Coming into an inheritance presents its own questions and challenges; financial, logistical, and personal.


Receiving an inheritance always means you have to think about taxes. Estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains tax, property taxes… The estate tax this year is extremely unclear, and you will definitely want to have an attorney and an accountant help you with it. Whether or not you have help, you will absolutely want to keep paperwork on everything. This includes paperwork from any transfers of inherited property made by you, as well as any and all of the original paperwork you can find for the inherited assets.


There is a lot more to an inheritance than simply getting money and spending it. Are you the nominated guardian of young children, holding those assets in trust for their benefit? Or perhaps you are the beneficiary of a trust, and your receipt of the assets is subject to the terms of that trust. Do you have to use the money for education or a specified purpose? Do you need to approval of a trustee before you can spend it? Hopefully you are working with a trustee you know and trust.


Inherited property is almost always very personal and fraught with emotion. Should you really sell the house grandma lived in for decades and use the money to take a cruise? (If so, wait until after taxes to pay for the trip.) Would your parents have wanted you to use the money to pay for a wedding, or save it for your retirement? Do you want to take the summer home that’s been in your family for generations and own it jointly with your new spouse, or keep the property on your side of the family?

Whatever you choose to do with your inheritance, it’s likely you’ll need some guidance from a knowledgeable and trustworthy professional. We're happy to help. Our knowledge of the probate system, estate taxes, and creating vehicles to protect your assets can answer your questions regarding the receiving end of estate planning as well as the planning.