Our work as financial advisers provides a unique opportunity to delve into all sorts of interesting situations. One of the most fascinating topics is inheritance. Inheritances are laced with emotions and fraught with pitfalls. Family dynamics play a huge roll in how the inheritance is viewed, and ultimately whether it is a blessing or a curse. I want to camp for a moment on the idea of inheritances.
The first thing we all sometimes forget is that inheritance goes far beyond money. Think about all the things that you inherited from your parents. You inherited your genetics, your appearance, and your propensity for longevity from your parents. You probably inherited many of your parent’s mannerisms too. Do you remember when you first realized, ”Oh, no! I’m turning into my Mom/Dad!” That is a day of reckoning in your life! You probably inherited your sense of humor and your outlook on life from your parents too.
You may have inherited some habits from your parents, good and bad. You may have even inherited your vocation from a parent. When we begin to think about all the things we have inherited from our parents, the idea of inheritance takes on a very rich meaning. Inheritance is full of life.
There is a propensity in all of us to view the money part of the inheritance as most important, and here is where the problems with inheritance begin to emerge. When we lose sight of the fullness of our inheritance, and focus only on the money, the life drains out of the whole situation. There is no life in money, it is only numbers on a page. Dollars can have an impact for sure, but it is only accounting.
The main question that we are asked with inherited money is “What should I do with it?” We often go into the places I’ve mentioned above. What would make your parents proud? What did your parents want for you? What did your parents value? Ultimately, how can you honor your parent’s gift by matching the dollars with all the other things you have inherited? Here is one thing I can assure you…your parents don’t want money to cause arguments or divisions within the family.
Much of life is thinking about things correctly, and I do hope that you realize the fullness of your inheritance. When the time comes, please ask for help. Dealing with the financial aspect of an inheritance usually means that you have lost your last parent or grandparent. Traveling this journey can be very sad, and doing it alone is tough. Compass Financial is committed to providing a safe space to explore your finances.