The Downsides Of A Large Inheritance

Is there a downside to inheriting a fortune? Nothing obvious springs to mind, but perhaps that’s superficial.

A recent letter to a money adviser suggested there are drawbacks. In the letter, a young man from Canada outlined his situation: his father had left him, an only child, more than $15 million in his will. The estate came in the form of a fully-invested portfolio to take care of with the support of financial advisers.

The trouble was – the young man wanted more control over the money. To this end, he decided to major in finance at business school so he could have a better understanding of the market. He also read up on intelligent investing.

Some of the advisers had been handling his family’s money for more than 10 years. He felt they viewed him as a spoiled child. One of those advisers had neglected to rebalance the portfolio, according to a pre-established investment plan. While the adviser hadn’t broken any of Canada’s financial advisory ethics, it had lost him money. He wanted the advisers to take him seriously.

The young man asked what he should do. He was tempted to find other financial advisers. He had no intention of trading or managing that amount of money by himself, and wished to live a normal life without those kinds of pressure.

It’s quite a different issue than the one we usually deal with here at Finders Ireland. We seek out the rightful beneficiaries to a will when someone dies intestate. In this case, the young man’s father died and did leave a will. He left a lot of money and presumably the young man feels a responsibility to ensure that the generous estate is not diminished.

In response, the adviser praised the young man for having the humility to know that he didn’t want or need to manage the money by himself. He respected the skills and experience of financial advisers, but at the same time he had brushed up on the basics of investing.

The adviser told the young man to trust his instincts – his father wouldn’t have left him that amount of money if he thought he couldn’t make the right decisions about managing it. The financial advisers were working for the young man – and should remember that. He should find advisers who were prepared to safeguard his father’s work and make sure he was getting a good return on his investments.

The advice to the young man was that he shouldn’t rush the process. He should choose advisers who were qualified, and to be wary of hidden commissions, fees and unrealistic promises of returns on investment. You can inherit a financial adviser, but that does not mean you need to stick with him or her. The young man should start by communicating with his team, and see where that took him.

Inheritance issues are commonplace these days, but disputes usually take the form of what someone is entitled to receive. The above issue is an interesting dilemma indeed – and not one that’s very common, we’ll wager.