You Haven't Inherited a House Yet but Will Soon

Even though your loved ones might not like talking about their mortality and what will happen to their assets after they’re gone, it’s important to have those conversations now. If you’re included in their will as a beneficiary, the legacy they leave you could have a big impact on your finances.

Gently encouraging your loved ones to talk to you about their plans can help you make sure you’re prepared when the time comes. It can also help clarify their wishes and resolve any unsettled bequeaths or instructions that could lead to problems after they’re gone. There’s more to being a beneficiary than getting assets.

7 out of every 10 people that receive a large sudden inheritance lose it all within a few years.

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Planning for an Inheritance

Since it’s a sensitive topic for most people, it’s important to make it clear right from the start that your goal is not to find out how much you’ll be getting. The goal is to make sure their wishes are completely clear and understood.

Scheduling a set time to talk is an important way to prevent misunderstandings and give them time to prepare. During the meeting, make sure everything is put in writing. This includes bequests or directions your parents may take for granted. By including as much detail as possible, you and your parents can avoid discrepancies and ambiguity so their estate will be handled in the way they intend.

If your parent is no longer capable and you have power of attorney or access to their papers, you might be able to obtain a copy of the will or trust paperwork to start the planning on your own. If you don’t have access or knowledge of their wishes, consider making a plan based on the various “what-if” scenarios you can identify. Even if you aren’t sure if you’ll be inheriting a house or not, make a plan.

Knowing what to do when you inherit a house begins with a detailed plan. If you have siblings, if the home is occupied by someone other than your loved one, or if the home has a mortgage (or if you think it might, but you’re not sure), you’ll want to consider multiple scenarios covering all these possibilities. In each case, consider the basic questions first.

What do you want to do with the home? Do you want to sell, rent, or live in it? Is anyone living in the house?

Your answers may be very different if you’re inheriting a house that’s paid off rather than inheriting a house with a mortgage. Your own financial picture can also come into play.

If someone else is occupying the home, you’ll need to decide if they can stay as renters or if you want them to leave. Of course, your parents may have their own ideas, and if they’re in the will, you’ll need to abide by them.

What To Do When You Inherit a House

If you are inheriting a house, then you are the beneficiary of an estate. Settling an estate can be time-consuming and draining, especially while grieving the loss of this loved one. Once you have inherited the property, you’ll need to make several key decisions.

Is anyone living there?
Is the insurance on the home up to date?
Personal Property
What do you want to do with the items inside the home?
Which utilities need to stay on and which can be turned off ?

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