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THE BLUE JEAN LAWYER: How Will Your Kids Spend Their Inheritance?

Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

As a probate attorney, I’m usually there when the kids get their inheritance checks.

I’m there to see children reap the benefits of 50 or more years of work and sweat and tears sacrificed by their parents.

Unfortunately, I’m also usually there to watch many of those same kids spend their inheritance in a very short time, sometimes in a few months, on what can only be considered as unwise investments.

While I am happy to see that a person’s status has upgraded significantly, I also worry about the fact that the money that this person‘s parents worked 40+ years to accumulate can, many times, be spent so quickly.

Guys, if I give you one bit of advice, it’s this:

When you inherit anything, whether it be money, real estate, cars, or stocks, get your behind to a financial advisor or an accountant to make sure that you’re not just squandering away an inheritance that took your parents decades of work to accumulate.

My dad started working when he was a kid. He grew up on a farm, and had a father who fought in World War II. At the age of 17, he entered the apprenticeship program at Ingall’s, and worked there until he retired at the age of 51.

He taught me that, if you truly want to have anything in life, you need to pay for it with cash and not on credit.

I remember him getting up at 4 AM to work on an old beat up pickup truck so he could get it running long enough to get him to work in time to clock in most mornings.

As the years progressed, that pickup truck got a little nicer.

Yet, he never bought a new truck or a new car until he reached an age where he was physically unable to do engine repair any longer.

By that point, he could walk in and write a personal check for a brand new truck, with all the options that he desired.

He taught his five kids the same values.

Work hard, save a lot, live below your means, and put as little on credit as possible.

We know that, one day, our parents shall pass away.

We also know that we will probably have an inheritance on the other end of that passing.

However, I’m not working to merely survive until my inheritance comes in.

I’m working now to make sure that I have enough money to survive during my lifetime so that I never have to rely on that inheritance as my only means of support in my later years.

Also, I want my dad to go out and enjoy that money while he still can.

If I do inherit anything, it’s going to be invested.

I have an amazing financial advisor and an even better CPA.

Both will be on standby when that time comes.

Again, guys, I am a huge fan of enjoying life.

But I’m also a big fan of enjoying life in a wise and somewhat frugal manner.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed, true.

However, if tomorrow comes, are you going to be able to afford what it brings?

If you take the windfall and money that you get today, whether it be from a lawsuit, a divorce, a job dispute settlement, or an inheritance, and simply spend it on toys and things that are fleeting and not conducive to ensuring that you have a future nest egg down the road, then that money that you receive will have absolutely zero impact on your level of security in this life.

Don’t let your newly acquired wealth go to your head.

Save and spend wisely.

Reach out for financial advice with a trusted advisor.

Above all, look at that inheritance as the gift it truly is and what it symbolizes: your parents’ life work, handed to you.

On the other end of the spectrum: parents, if you don’t think that your kids can handle a sudden windfall of money when you pass away, perhaps it’s time to look into speaking with an estate attorney about establishing a trust that ensures their inheritance can be protected and used for true life events, such as obtaining college degrees, buying a house, paying for medical bills, and starting a business.

It’s your money. It’s your time here on Earth.

Spend both wisely.

 

 

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