Ecology of Money

How to Plan for an Inheritance: 6 Things You Need to Know

John F. Wasik

For millions of fortunate Americans, receiving an inheritance can be more satisfying (and certainly more likely) than winning the lottery. You pretty much know you will be getting some money in the future--and usually from someone you know and (maybe) love.

Over the next 50 years, $41 trillion to $136 trillion will be passed between generations, according to The Journal of Gift Planning. That means about $1 trillion to $3 trillion is inherited every year in the U.S. Although those numbers in aggregate are impossible for most people to wrap their heads around, there are ways you can prudently plan for your own inheritance.