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Why do so many people feel guilty about their inheritance?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | heirs & beneficiaries |

Even people who take the time and effort to put an estate plan in place too often don’t talk to their loved ones about it. It’s uncomfortable for some people, particularly older generations, to talk about money. 

Further, loved ones sometimes resist attempts at discussions about what will happen after an older family member dies. Unfortunately, this leaves them in the dark about things they need to know.

A loved one’s lifestyle can be deceiving

Sometimes that leaves people shocked at just how much money their loved one left them. They may have had no idea they had this kind of money – especially if they were living a modest lifestyle and seemed to be unwilling to spend money on even the smallest extravagance. Why weren’t they enjoying what this money could have brought them while they were alive?

All this can lead to “inheritor’s guilt.” It’s understandable that you’d feel some guilt about being left a large sum of money or valuable assets by a parent or grandparent who always seemed to be pinching pennies.

Take some time before making any big decisions

One wealth coach notes that inheritors can go through stages of emotions when they receive a large inheritance they didn’t expect – starting with disbelief followed by anger and guilt. It’s important, however, to eventually realize that you are “heir worthy.” Your loved one left you this inheritance because they wanted you to have it.

What you do with it is up to you. However, it’s crucial not to make any decisions about it while you’re still mourning the loss of a loved one or until you’ve resolved your feelings about the inheritance. In the meantime, investing it someplace where it can earn some income and won’t be lost to the vicissitudes of the stock market is probably a good idea. If it’s more than you’ve ever had to manage before, it’s wise to talk with a financial advisor.

This might be a good time to start considering your own estate plan. Consider where you would like to see these assets and others go if something were to happen to you tomorrow. You can and should modify your estate plan as you get older and your life and goals change. Getting experienced legal guidance is a good place to start.