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Excess Inheritance

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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

My mother passed away when I was young. Since I’ve been in college, my dad has passed away, too. It was a tough time in my life, but my dad left me with everything I need to have a great life, including an inheritance. That inheritance included the house I grew up in, plus another house on the shore and a boat, to name just a few things. My relatives suggested I sell some of these things and invest the cash, and in some cases – like the house on the shore – I did. But I felt strongly at the time that I deserved to come back to my childhood home on breaks from school, and I didn’t feel like I had the time or the patience to sell the boat and some of the other stuff. I fought with my family over it. I fought with the lawyer, too. Eventually, everyone stopped trying to help.

It’s been almost two years now, and I’m ready to admit that I was being emotional. It doesn’t make sense for me to have a house with big fancy appliances. I don’t need a boat in storage when I don’t even have the beach property anymore. I need to sell this stuff. But I’ve cut off some of the people who would have helped me, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help?

You’ve dealt with a terrible loss, and it’s understandable that you had trouble believing that selling your childhood home was the right thing to do. Now that you feel differently, though, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make things right. It sounds as if you have a very nice home–right down to those fancy appliances, which those at luxury appliance stalwart Dacor say may actually raise the resale value of the property. Calling up a realtor will get the ball rolling on that. And you want to sell your boat–simple enough, say the pros at BoatCrazy, if you work with a used boat dealer.

But there are, of course, a few things to remember here. On the financial side, you’re going to have to consider the tax implications. If you make a profit on your home, you might owe taxes–though experts also note that tax exemptions for profits made selling a home are quite forgiving. How much of a tax break you get will likely rely on whether or not the IRS considers you to have been living in your house these past few years. Your best bet will most likely be to hire a tax professional to sort everything out, because the last thing you want to do is get on the wrong side of the IRS.

Naturally, you’ll want some recommendations on tax pros–as well as on realtors and other experts you’ll rely on. You can get these online, but perhaps this would be a good time for you to reach back out to the family members that you have cut off. You were going through a difficult time when you rejected their advice in the past, and you may find that they are thrilled to hear from you again. You are not the first person to feud with family members during a grieving time. And older relatives are more likely than younger people to believe that estrangement is reversible, statistics show, so you may find that your older relatives are more than ready to let bygones be bygones.

“Everyone needs a house to live in, but a supportive family is what builds a home,”  Anthony Liccione