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Considerations Before Accepting Your Inheritance: A Guide for Beneficiaries

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Considerations Before Accepting Your Inheritance: A Guide for Beneficiaries

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the news of an inheritance can be both a source of comfort and confusion. Inheriting property or funds can bring financial benefits, but it can also pose unintended difficulties that you may not be able or willing to handle. In this guide, we will explore the factors you should consider before accepting your inheritance, including legal and tax implications, estate planning, and personal considerations.

The Estate Planning Process

When a person passes away, their estate plan outlines the distribution of their money and property. Estate planning is a way for individuals to ensure that their assets are passed on to their chosen beneficiaries. In most cases, testators (persons who have made a will or created an estate plan) or trustmakers divide their assets equally among their heirs to be fair. However, there may be situations where a testator chooses to give a larger inheritance to one heir based on their contribution to the family. It is essential to understand that estate planning is a dynamic process that can change based on shifting family dynamics and the death of an heir.

Pros and Cons of Accepting an Inheritance

Accepting an inheritance is a voluntary act that may have tax and financial implications.

If you have been informed that you will be receiving an inheritance, here are some factors to consider before making a decision:

  • Outstanding debt: If your inheritance includes a valuable item such as a home, car, or RV, it may also come with outstanding debt that you will be responsible for paying.

  • Oversized items: You may inherit a large item that poses a storage problem, and you will have to pay for additional storage if you cannot keep it in your home.

  • Logistical difficulties: Taking possession of an item may require you to travel long distances, pay for shipping or storage, and deal with the practicalities of transporting it.

  • Tax consequences: Six states impose an inheritance tax, and inherited assets can increase your taxable income and place you in a higher tax bracket.

  • Personal considerations: It is essential to consider your personal feelings about accepting the inheritance and whether it aligns with your financial and lifestyle goals.

Inheriting property or funds can bring both financial benefits and unintended difficulties.

Before accepting an inheritance, it is important to seek legal and tax advice to understand the implications of your decision. Weigh the pros and cons, consider the practicalities of taking possession of the item, and most importantly, consider your personal feelings about accepting the inheritance.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that is best for you and your future. If you need legal assistance with the estate planning process or have questions about inheriting property or funds, our Bauhof Legal team is here to help.

If you require legal assistance with your will and estate planning in Maryland, you may schedule a complimentary initial consultation with our Bauhof Legal team. Every estate is unique and individual, and this website is not intended to offer legal counsel. Please feel free to reach out to us at or give us a call at +1 (410) 876 4500.


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