1) Find a financial advisor that you trust. This may be a family member or friend’s advisor that you have been referred to. The financial advisor will be able to guide you through the process of consolidating and retitling assets, prioritize goals and manage your inherited assets. You may also need a referral to an attorney and/or accountant, which the financial advisor will be able to provide.

2) Know the tax consequences. Whether you are the beneficiary of an IRA account or a life insurance policy, it is important to know how that will affect your taxes.

3) Have a plan of how your inheritance will be invested and/or spent. People who receive inheritance do not often have the tools to be able to manage it. Your monthly income has increased or you have a large sum of money, now what? There are many great resources available for budgeting and being a good steward of the blessings you have received. Your financial advisor will also be able to assist in this area.

4) Take notes throughout the inheritance process. Often there are numerous moving pieces after someone has passed. Keeping clear notes on the different pieces can be vital. Note the name of the person you spoke to, their company, phone number and extension, any timeframes within which you have to make a decision, items that you need to provide and paperwork to be completed. The financial advisor will be able to assist with this part, but there may be certain things you have to handle on your own.

1) Don’t rush into anything. Take time to grieve. It is a process and takes a different amount of time for each person and that is ok. Grieving people often make decisions that they would not have if they had just taken some more time to think about it. Not every financial decision has to be made today or tomorrow. Depending on what you are inheriting, you may have months if not years, to decide. It is important to know within what timeframe you do need to make a decision though.

2) Don’t ignore your inheritance. If you do nothing to obtain your inheritance within the applicable timeframe, the asset can be escheated to the state. Once an asset has been escheated it can take longer to obtain what is rightfully yours.

3) Don’t spend all of your inheritance before you even have it. The person you received the inheritance from worked hard and has now entrusted you with it, don’t squander it.

4) Don’t become the bank for your family and friends. Unfortunately, people are greedy and can take advantage of you during one of the most vulnerable times in your life. Be wise with how you do and don’t spend your inheritance.

The author of this article, Courtney Arria, CFP® is a LPL Financial Advisor at Urist Financial and Retirement Planning, Inc., located in East Syracuse, New York. Courtney Arria is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Registered Representative with LPL Financial. She is dedicated to building personal connections with clients, which leads to a clear understanding of their financial needs and how she can help them to pursue their financial goals. She strives to simplify clients’ finances in order to educate and empower. Courtney can be reached at 315-445-2147 or courtney.arria@lpl.com. Company information can be found at www.uristfinancial.com.