What to do with an inheritance

2020 -

Deciding how to use an inheritance wisely can be overwhelming. With the help of a financial adviser, we share some options to consider. 

When a loved one passes away finances are likely the last thing on your mind. However, if that loved one chooses to leave you an inheritance, it’s worth taking the time to consider your options for investing and growing those funds in a way that will honour their memory.

Tools and techniques to help you manage when you lose a loved one.

Life with grief and loss

If you’re looking for guidance of what to do with the inheritance, some financial advisers can help you reflect on your financial goals and priorities and establish a plan for the new funds. Tribeca Financial CEO, Ryan Watson shares some of the options you could consider. 

Deciding what to do with an inheritance?

“An inheritance can provide that financial boost needed to get financially ahead in life and bring forward an individual’s goals,” says Watson.

Generally, people receive an inheritance in the form of liquid assets such as cash or shares, illiquid assets such as a property, or as sentimental possessions that have no monetary value. 

When deciding what to do with an inheritance you should first consider your financial goals and what you would like to achieve in the short, medium and long-term. From there, you can take steps to determine how the inheritance can be used to help achieve them. 

Your individual goals as well as your stage of life and investment timeline will influence how you choose to use an inheritance. There are numerous tax effective ways a person can receive an inheritance to minimise tax payable, which again are dependent on individual circumstances and should be considered with the help of a financial adviser. More broadly, some options for using an inheritance include: 

  • Paying down debts 
  • Purchasing property 
  • Making additional contributions to superannuation
  • Investing funds in a diversified portfolio
  • Establishing an inherited property as an investment property to earn an income

The way you choose to use an inheritance is individual to you, right down to the way you may choose to invest the funds. As Watson explains, a diversified investment approach “should be guided by your risk profile, in other words your appetite for understanding and taking investment risk.”
“At the end of the day, it all comes back to the individual’s short, medium and long-term goals and then implementing an investment strategy which will give them the best chance of achieving them,” he says. 

Managing emotions when making financial decisions 

As well as helping you to establish your goals and a strategy to help achieve them, Watson explains that a financial adviser can also serve as a source of accountability, assisting you to implement the decisions you’ve made at what can be a challenging time. “One of the struggles we see with new clients who have just received an inheritance is the challenge to remain objective and to try and minimise emotion in the decision making process,” he says.  

“People can sometimes see receiving an inheritance as a burden – a financial ‘windfall’ that they don’t want to make a mistake with,” explains Watson. “This in-turn can lead to a lot of stress and even end up with the funds lying dormant for a long time because the individual has ‘frozen’”.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about deciding what to do with an inheritance, consult with your loved ones or a financial adviser who can help guide you through the decision-making process.  Find out more on how to prepare for your first appointment with a financial adviser here.


An experienced financial adviser can help you develop a strategy to help achieve your financial goals.

Find an adviser
Back to top