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Large Inheritances

If you just received a large inheritance, you probably have a lot of questions. You want good answers that you can trust. The problem is that most of your friends and relatives probably don’t have a clue how to help you. And professional advisors usually know the answer to only one or two of your questions. That leaves you feeling frustrated and alone.

Our law firm helps people with large inheritances. 

The following is based on both professional as well as personal experience. Attorney Paul Deloughery inherited $14 million in 2009 and lost most of it because he received bad advice and trusted the wrong people. Let’s help you avoid that!

Here are some of the most common questions people ask when they get a large inheritance.


The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protects your money deposited in a bank up to $250,000. So if that bank fails, like some did in 2008, you could lose money. If you receive $500,000, put half of it in an account at one bank and half of it in an account at another bank. Of course, if you already had $250,000 in one of those banks, then you any amount in excess of that will not be protected. 

Make note that brokerage accounts have slightly more protection. They receive SIPC protection in the amount of $500,000, which includes $250,000 of protection for cash and the remaining $250,000 of protection for investments.

If you have a question about any of this, give us a call.

What is considered a large inheritance?

An inheritance is when you receive something of value like money or property as a result of someone dying. A large inheritance consists of enough Wealth to be able to pay off your debts, and I have enough left over where are you no longer need to work for a living for some period of time.

How do I deposit a large inheritance?

If we were talking about a check, you should be able to just take it to your bank. The name on the check needs to match the name on the bank account. If they don’t match, call a lawyer to help you figure out what to do. You’re not alone. This happens more often than you think. People get divorced and remarried and change their names. Or you may have some other personal circumstance that has caused the situation. It’s ok. There’s always a solution.

If bank puts a hold in the check.

Depending on the amount of the check, the bank may place the funds on hold to make sure that they clear. This is perfectly normal. It’s simply a way of preventing fraud.

Also, be sure to read the information below under “Where do I deposit a large inheritance?” about FDIC and SIPC protection limits. If the check exceeds $250,000, you should deposit in more than one financial institution.

How do I cash a large inheritance check?

Depending on the amount, this may be more complicated than you think. To deposit a check, you need to have a bank account that matches yes the name of the payee on the front of the check. Then you endorse it, which means you sign your name on the back of the check. The name of the payee on the front should match the name that you sign on the back. That was the simple part.

FDIC Limits

Now here’s the complicated part. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protects your money deposited in a bank up to $250,000. So if that bank fails, like some did in 2008, you could lose money. If you receive $500,000, put half of it in an account at one bank and half of it in an account at another bank. of course, if you already had $250,000 in one of those banks, then you any amount in excess of that will not be protected. If you have a question about any of this, give us a call.

What do I do if real property (land or building) has been transferred to my name?

If the property is only in your name, then you should talk to an estate planning attorney to discuss putting it into a well-drafted revocable trust. That will avoid avoid probate if you die or become incapacitated. If you plan to rent it out to others, then asset protection might be a concern. You can put it in an LLC or other legal structure. This is not a good Do-It-Yourself project. Talk to any attorney. Give us a call NOW at 602-443-4888.

How do I manage a large inheritance?

Now we’ve come to a very complicated topic. There are books written on this. Professionals get advanced degrees on the subject. Your personal goals probably differ from the next person who inherits the same amount. And depending on who you ask, you will undoubtedly get a different answer. However there are some generally excepted principles.

You inherited less than $1 million:

In this case, start interviewing some certified financial planner ‘s if you know you’re with Sudden Wealth Directory. You can find some at the Sudden Wealth Directory. He specifically need to find someone who is familiar with Sudden Wealth because you’ll be dealing with emotions and other issues that untrained financial advisors are unprepared to help you with.

You inherited between $1 million and $5 million:

Read the previous paragraph because it’s also applicable to you. In addition, realize that you are now an accredited investor. That means you qualify to invest in alternative investments that do not have the same level of protection given to people with a net worth of less than $1 million of investable assets. And people who promote alternative investments are very aggressive. You are now in the realm were con artists work.

You need a law firm familiar with Sudden Wealth on your side. We can help protect you from con artists and advocate on your behalf. Also, if you aspire to grow your wealth to the next level, learn about the levels of family wealth.

You inherited between $5 million and $10 million:

The previous two paragraphs apply to you. In addition, you may be able to set your family up for multi-generational success. That means your large inheritance may benefit not only your children, but also your grandchildren and beyond. This will require being very careful in three different ways.

First, you and your family need to agree on becoming a multi-generational family. This needs to be a common aspiration.

Second, you and your family need to agree on how decisions will be made. this may seem simple, right. You inherited the money, so you make the decisions. However, if you want the money to last and benefit your family long-term, you must plan for the day when you were no longer around. Yes, we’re talking about facing your own mortality. We’re also talking about implementing ways of resolving disputes without going to court or having other conflicts.

Third, you need to make your aspirations and ideas for decision-making and conflict resolution legally enforceable. This requires seeing a good estate planning attorney familiar with large inheritances.

We can help. Give us a call NOW at 602-443-4888.

You inherited between $10 million and $30 million:

Read the previous paragraphs. In addition, be warned. You have now entered no man’s land. Managing this amount of wealth is now kind of like flying an airplane beyond the sound barrier. Your life is radically different than the way it used to be. Plus most professional advisers can only provide half of the help you need, if that.

There’s no way that a couple of paragraphs on this website can do justice to all the issues your face. But here are a few hot issues.

With this level of wealth, it’s possible for you and maybe your kids to never have to work. But then what’s going to happen is your grandchildren will also have no work ethic and no idea how to support themselves. Plus they will have expensive tastes. It’s common for the grandchildren of people who inherit more than $10 million to have miserable lives because of this. This can be avoided. You need coaching and mentoring, as well as the help of an assertive law firm to advocate for you. Give us a call to discuss this.

Also, one of the frustrations of people with your level of wealth is simply finding competent professionals. One of the benefits you’ll get from our law firm is that we are advocates for you. We will vet advisers to make sure you’re getting the best advice and protection. You absolutely need the help of a team of professional advisors familiar with Sudden Wealth. You can find such a team at the Sudden Wealth Directory. However, we have not necessarily vetted these as being appropriate for your situation. You should get Sudden Wealth Protection Law on your side first. Then we can help you build a team.

Significant wealth is usually not lost with one bad decision. However, it’s usually whittled away through a series of bad choices over months or years. Before you know it, the money is mostly gone. Looking back, you wish you had a chance to do it all over again. But it’s too late after the moneys gone. This goes back again to having a team of professionals on your side familiar with Sudden Wealth and large inheritances. Give us a call to discuss this.

Taxes are also an issue. Depending on what state you live in, this can vary. The estate tax if you die can be close to 50%. That can be prevented with proper planning. We can help with this issue as well.

Where do I deposit a large inheritance?

The answer to this question really depends on your goals. If you want to invest it so that it is worth more in the future, it’s really best to enlist the help of a good certified financial planner. You may be able to find one near you on the Sudden wealth directory.

FDIC and SIPC Limits

If you plan to spend the money, you probably only need to put it in a bank account. See the answer below regarding FDIC limits. Also note that brokerage accounts have slightly more protection. They receive SIPC protection in the amount of $500,000, which includes $250,000 of protection for cash and the remaining $250,000 of protection for investments.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the main danger regarding large inheritances, which is you! The odds are against you in terms of the money ever making its way down to your kids or other beneficiaries after you pass away. Of course, if you don’t have kids or you don’t care about them, then this doesn’t matter. But if you do, you should know that roughly 70% of inheritances fail to make it down to the next generation and roughly 90% fail to reach the grandchildren’s generation.

If you find yourself making bad decisions or wondering where your inheritance has gone, you need help right away. That’s one of the reasons we started this law firm. Give us a call at 602-443-4888.

Where do I invest a large inheritance?

You inherited less than $1 million.

If you inherited less than $1 million, talk to a certified financial planner familiar with Sudden wealth and large inheritances. You can find one at the Sudden Wealth Directory.

You inherited more than $1 million. 

If you inherited more than $1 million, you have more options. You are now an accredited investor and can possibly invest in alternative investments. Be aware, however! Alternative investments are much riskier than other more regulated investments. They promise higher investment returns then your typical mutual fund. However, many alternative investments fail. That means that instead of making 20% profit, you lose the entire investment. I don’t know about you, but I would rather make 0% profit than -100% profit!

If you want to learn about the stock market, a good source is the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). They have model portfolios that you can invest in. Their model portfolios are probably safer than model portfolios offered by investment newsletters.

What if I choose bad investments?

For traditional investment such as stocks and bonds, you would do well to work with a really good financial advisor. You can find one on the Sudden Wealth Directory.

The real danger usually comes in alternative investments such as private equity deals, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and so forth. To protect yourself with those investments, you need to have a list of criteria for investments. The criteria should include, for example, that the management team has at least five years of successful experience and that you loan money rather than investing it. With a loan, if the company files for bankruptcy, you have priority for payment over mirror investors. This is of course just a very short list. You need to spend serious time and put together a good list of criteria they can protect you. 

Also, enlist a good legal team that can help ensure you are as protected as possible. We can help. Call us NOW at 602-443-4888.

How do I spend the money?

Friends and family asking you for gifts or loans:

The easy answer here is simply to not loan out or give out money. Of course, depending on your personal circumstance that may be difficult for you. There’s no judgment on our part here. After all, attorney Paul Deloughery used his large inheritance to buy houses for his girlfriends daughters. (He wasn’t completely stupid, though. He kept the houses in his name. But when he broke up with the girlfriend and asked the girls to move out of the houses, they stole the garbage disposal and did other things to trash the house.) 

If friends and family are asking you for money, get an advocate on your side. Lawyer can help talk to them call home phone the only given with collateral and product for documentation. Most often, friends and family will lose interest after they start being treated in a responsible, businesslike fashion.

What do I do with a large inheritance?

Got any overdue bills, mortgages, loans, etc.? Knock out all those nasty debts and start with a clean slate. From there, perhaps consider hiring a financial advisor to protect you from potential risks and put together a financial plan to get you set with your new influx of money. If you have children, think about putting aside some money for college funds.

Once all of that is out of the way, start a savings account to put your new riches in. Consult your financial advisor or begin calculating how much money you can take out of savings per month without running out. Make sure to take into account current income and bills. Lastly, remember that you have money and people are going to begin to get close to you in hopes of getting their hands on some. Be wary of who you trust and don’t throw money at those who beg.

How do I protect a large inheritance?

Protecting a large inheritance can be complicated. To use an analogy, it only takes one hole in a bucket to lose the contents of the bucket. Similarly, you only need one vulnerability to lose your entire inheritance. The following is by no means a comprehensive list. Your personal situation is unique. And any advice that may apply to one person may not be relevant to the next person. Here’s a sampling of common risks and ways to protect against them.


Most lawsuits do not result in people losing their life savings but can be very annoying. You can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars for legal representation, and it will consume your life for six months to a year or longer.

With a well done asset protection plan, you get two things. You get the assurance that you will not be wiped out. You also get leverage because you can correctly inform The people suing you that even if they are successful they will have a difficult time collecting from you.

Having the money tied up in court.

This is actually different from the previous point. The previous point discussed how to protect your large inheritance from creditors and other people coming after you for the money.

But this point is different. There are other ways money can be tied up in court other than you being sued. You could have family members or others try to take over control of the money like what happened with Britney Spears. All it really takes is for someone to claim that you don’t know how to manage the money properly. (And if you just inherited a bunch of money, you most likely haven’t yet figured out how to manage it property. That’s perfectly natural.) And once you get wrapped up in the legal system, it’s hard to escape from it. Again, look at Britney Spears.

This can be prevented with a well-prepared estate plan. To learn more about estate planning, call us at 602-443-4888.

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