How to Handle an Inheritance

Inheritance attorney

Inheritance Questions? Ask Ventura Attorney Dan Higson. Most people in the United States will receive some form of inheritance in their lifetime. This circumstance often combines the grief of losing a loved one with a feeling of financial relief. In this chaotic situation, it is important to consider how to correctly handle the acquisition of an inheritance.

  1. Before you start spending large amounts of the inheritance, allow for a cooling-down period to consider your options and avoid mistakes caused by strong emotions or hastiness. You should assess both short-term and long-term goals such as retirement plans, and figure out how to maximize your newfound wealth.

  2. Develop an inheritance plan that outlines your financial goals and identifies potential problems that could arise. You should also try to think about previous financial issues and bad habits you may have had in the past.

  3. One of the most important priorities is to make an emergency account. This should consist of a sum of easily accessible money that accounts for at least 3-6 months of living expenses. This can cover many problems that arise such as loss of employment and medical bills.

  4. Next, you should pay down existing debt, such as loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Paying down these debts quickly keeps you from paying more money in the long-term because of the interest that accrues as time passes.

  5. You can also use inheritance money to contribute to your retirement plans, such as a 401K or IRA.

  6. Have some fun! It can be beneficial to set aside 5-10% of the inheritance for personal spending. It’s much harder to reach your long-term goals if you give yourself no leeway in the meantime.

If you have any remaining questions about how to spend your inheritance, contact us as Hathaway Law. We would be glad to help you decide how best to capitalize on your inheritance.


Hathaway Perrett Webster Powers Chrisman & Gutierrez, APC is a debt relief agency pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 528(a)(4) and assists individuals, families, and businesses file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  This website is a communication under California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400.  No legal relationship is created by the use of this website and no legal advice is provided.  No guarantee or warranty is provided that your case or matter will achieve any particular result and testimonials and endorsements provided on this site do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction about your matter or case. This communication is made on behalf of Hathaway Perrett Webster Powers Chrisman & Gutierrez, APC and DANIEL A. HIGSON, State Bar No. 71212 is responsible for its contents.  All information contained on this website may be factually substantiated by a credible source, including data from the United States Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system.  Detailed data and information is available on request.