Wiser Wealth: When is the Right Time to Let Your Family Have Their Inheritance?

Wise old man

By Chris Isaac

Oftentimes when people think about distribution of an inheritance, they picture the whole family assembled around a lawyer reading out a deceased person’s will.

However, nothing is stopping a person from giving out their inheritance while still alive. So if that money could make a big difference for a relative now, should you give them what you were already planning to leave them for later?

The financial upset caused by the pandemic has some parents asking that question. Cheryl Winokur Munk of the Wall Street Journal weighs in, enlisting help from several financial advisers to help provide an answer.

What might surprise people is these advisers were actually in favor of giving out an inheritance before death. Their rationale being that death is random, leaving you with no certainty of when your family will receive that money.

And if you know your family is hurting financially now and could stand to lose a lot without some help, why wouldn’t you step in if you have the means?

Of course none of the advisers recommended being so generous as to leave yourself with nothing. Even if you are in your senior years and retired you still want to make sure you have enough to be taken care of.

That ties into the other piece of advice, which is not to dole out the entire inheritance all at once. If a chunk of it could help your kids get back on their feet now, give them what they need to be secure again, but leave the rest in reserve for now.

Circumstances like unemployment have introduced a lot of factors in the last year that can make you reevaluate how to handle the legacy of your assets. It’s worth considering options you normally wouldn’t have, but naturally the crucial thing is to speak to a financial adviser of your own before making any decisions.

For more guidance on how to decide when to give your children their inheritance, read the Wall Street Journal’s article here.


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