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Dealing with inheritance...
Old 07-24-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
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Dealing with inheritance...

My father who had suffered from a serious chronic illness took his own life this week. Of course dealing with the pain of this is unspeakable. The sadness is overwhelming. There are 5 kids. My dad was very poor growing up. He worked hard and saved and died with over 4 million.

I will then inherit approximately 800k. I am so bewildered because the money is so wonderful and sad all in one. It will make my dreams of er possible sooner but at such a cost.

I don't understand suicide but I do understand the pain my dad was in.

I needed to share this in a place where I have privacy but wisdom.

I am open for advice.

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Old 07-24-2015, 10:17 PM   #2
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I am so sorry for your loss and please take the time you need to work through the grief.

You will have plenty of time to deal with your inheritance as the estate gets settled. Hopefully there is a will or trust so the process can proceed smoothly.

Take care of yourself.

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Old 07-24-2015, 10:31 PM   #3
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Wow I can't even imagine how one begins to deal with such a painful ending. I'm sure he felt like he didn't have any other choice. My prayers go out to you and your family...nothing but the grace of God to hold onto.

I am so sorry to hear of your loss!
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:13 PM   #4
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Wow. That's really terrible. I can't imagine.

My suggestion would be to try and separate the two issues. Practically I would put the money in a safe place and not do anything for 6-12 months.

Getting a big chunk of money all at once is very different from saving a long time and I can't imagine the circumstances you're dealing with on top of that.

Then... After 6-12 months revisit the money question.

From that perspective I've come to the "low cost index fund" side of the fence which is both simple and reasonably safe.

But honestly I'd Gove yourself some time and avoid making any big decisions.

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Old 07-25-2015, 12:41 AM   #5
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I am so sorry for your loss. What a shock.

The executor should handle the distribution... taxes (if any) will be paid out of the estate, and the remainder distributed. Any IRA/401k type accounts are distributed separately from the estate - going to the listed beneficiaries in the percentages indicated by your dad when he filled out the forms.

If you happen to inherit an IRA or 401k, and if your dad was already taking RMDs, make sure he took an RMD for this calendar year - or take one when you receive control... Big tax penalty if you don't. Don't just cash out the IRA/401k - consider keeping it tax deferred... the RMDs will continue - but based on your age, not your dad's. If you cash it out in one lump sum the tax hit is horrendous. Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity/etc can help you roll over an IRA/401k to an "inherited IRA" in your name.

Again, I am very sorry for your loss.
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:41 AM   #6
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Others have made great suggestions and I see that you are an attorney so we can presume that your background will assist in making sure that the estate is handled properly. Hopefully the time that you spend in the near term processing your grief and coming to terms with this new reality will give way to your viewing your inheritance from your Dad as his legacy to you and your siblings and the good that it will do you can attribute positively to his memory.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:23 AM   #7
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My condolences on your loss. My dad died suddenly (heart attack) over 20 years ago. It took well over a year for me to work through my grief.

I agree with petershk - put the money in a safe place (CD's, short term bond fund .... ) for a year and forget about it until then. Give yourself time to work through your grief. After that you can memorialize your dad through the use your inheritance.

Take your time.

Again, my condolences.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:29 AM   #8
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So sorry, I lost my dad ten months ago and my brother and I inherited a similar amount each. My dad also suffered a debilitating chronic disease but in his case the disease took his life. My advice is to leave the money alone for a year, either in the current investments or in a stable fund. Grieve, recover and then you will be able to separate the windfall from the survivor gilt that naturally comes with it. Please don't judge your dad, you aren't where he was and you aren't responsible for his decisions. Just be grateful he left you this gift and that he was your dad.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:44 AM   #9
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So sorry to hear this, prose3589, how difficult it must be. At least your father is no longer suffering.

No need to do anything about the inheritance right now, just take time to grieve.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:45 AM   #10
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When I inherited money I did not want three years ago, I made the decision to use it for good purposes that I would not have been willing or able to do without the money. Over time I have disposed of about a quarter of it, with the uses for some of the remaining money decided. For what its worth, I would consider being able to retire earlier than I could otherwise expect to be a good purpose.

I too am sorry for your loss. I don't truly know how I would react in the same situation, and it gives me pause.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:49 AM   #11
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So sorry to read this--sudden death is hard regardless. My heart goes out to you. It will be a very hard year for you.

When DH's parents both passed away, the estate lawyer suggested that the (smaller than yours) inheritance be put aside for several months and also not mingled with joint assets. I thought both were good advice.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:19 AM   #12
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I'm sorry for your loss.... it must be tearing you apart inside. I lost my Dad 10 years ago, suddenly, but not near as tragically, and I miss him.

I agree with others... focus on grieving for now and worry about how to handle the inheritance later.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:22 AM   #13
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Make sure all 5 siblings are in agreement on how to proceed. Do you want to receive the investments in kind? How are taxes being handled? The answers can have material impact on the inheritance.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:24 AM   #14
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Consider grief counseling, especially if you find that this tragic event is interfering with your life and happiness. A good counselor can give insight and help you answer questions you might have, as they deal with this frequently.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:58 AM   #15
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As much as possible, deal with the grieving first.

My experience is that distributions from estates, even simple ones, take a long time. You have plenty of time to think about what to do with the money after the shock wears off.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:24 AM   #16
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So sorry to hear about your father. Sudden death is hard and from experience suicide is harder. Many people in chronic pain do resort to suicide, a sad reality. Always cherish all the wonderful things your father did for you and your family. Please take the time to process all of this before making too many decisions.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:36 AM   #17
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Please understand that suicide is illness....mental illness not that different from a heart attack or cancer. It happens and it's very hard on friends and family. I once had a "business daughter" that committed suicide. It hurt for quite some time. But, mental illness, especially with physical illness is a part of life.

As others have said, let the money sit and work through the grief. Then, get advise, many on this blog can help with that. I'd use Vanguard, explain what you have to invest and then ask them for a financial plan. But.....take some time, decide on your financial with your family and then enjoy what you have inherited. But....avoid any guilt, understand the power of mental illness and look forward to the future. All the best to you in the future.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:52 AM   #18
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I am going to come from a different perspective.... and it might sound a bit harsh.... but most here cannot talk from experience... I can....

Your father was in pain... that is hard on the mind... I am sad to hear that his docs did not do more to fix this problem...

However, I would ask... how much longer did he have to live if this tragic event did not happen? With my dad it was days... with maybe two months at the most. He had always said that he did not want to die in a hospital... and he was about to be sent to one since he was at the end of his life.

It has been over 30 years ago... and all of us have basically come to the conclusion that cancer is what killed him... and that is what we tell people...

As for the inheritance.... wait awhile to decide... unless someone is pushing, the estate can go for a year or two with some distributions.. but do ask a tax accountant or attorney what is best.... as mentioned, some bad decision at this time can create some big tax problems....
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:15 AM   #19
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My father died a few months ago and left an inheritance amount I was not expecting. He also had been ill, decided to stop treatment,and enter hospice The wonderful folks in this forum gave me the same advice you are receiving now from them.
Please take time to grieve your loss, remember the good memories. The money will be there in a few months when you are ready to deal with it. Take care of your self first.
I am sorry for the loss of your father.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:29 AM   #20
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This is a fragile time in your relationship with your siblings. Take the time to keep the lines of communication fully open on the full range of issues you all are facing: emotional, practical, legal, financial.

No doubt a continuous prosperity, though spendthrift, is preferable to an economy thriftily moral, though lean. Nevertheless, that prosperity would seem more soundly shored if, by a saving grace, more of us had the grace to save.

Life Magazine editorial, 1956
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