One in every three Americans will receive an inheritance during their lifetime, according to a study by Ohio-State researcher Jay Zagorsky. Unfortunately, much of that windfall is lost through spending or bad investing. Mr. Zagorsky offers four steps for handling an inheritance: (1) assess the current financial situation; (2) figure out how the inheritance can enhance your lifestyle or goals; (3) determine how to preserve it; and (4) develop a plan for a legacy. To assist you in carrying out these steps, create a financial advisory team consisting of a trusted financial advisor, certified tax professional and recommended estate planning attorney to develop a game plan to protect the inheritance. A financial advisor can help you look at your financial picture and determine what you need to cover your current lifestyle and future goals. With the remaining assets, an estate planning attorney can assist you in drawing up the legal documents necessary to pass the wealth to your family, friends or charity. A tax professional will advise you to make sure your goals are met without incurring unnecessary taxes.
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