Uncover the Risks of Inheriting These 6 Assets

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While receiving an inheritance sounds like a blessing in theory, in practice it’s a mixed bag. It can be a financial windfall, but it can also come with its unique challenges. Some assets, in particular, can be more problematic to inherit than others.

Whether it’s a struggling business, a dilapidated property, or a collection of debts, some assets can be time-consuming, divisive, and costly to deal with. Be aware of the potential challenges of these assets so you can make informed decisions about what to do with them if you’re faced with a situation where you’ll be inheriting them.

1. Businesses

A business can be a complex and time-consuming asset to inherit. It’s particularly true if the new owner doesn’t have experience in that field or if the business is struggling.

Also, inheriting a business can have some disadvantages because the new owner may be responsible for debts or obligations of the previous owner. For example, if the previous owner had taken out loans, the new owner may be liable for repayment. Additionally, the new owner may be responsible for any legal issues the previous owner was involved in.

2. Real Estate

Inheriting real estate can come with financial obligations if the property is in disrepair, if it’s located in an undesirable area, or if there are significant taxes or other associated expenses.

Even if the property’s in good condition, the new owner is responsible for maintenance and care. This can be time-consuming and costly. 

If the property is not being used or rented out, the new owner may also need to find a way to generate income from it in order to cover expenses.

3. Collectibles

While some collectibles may be valuable, they can be a problematic asset to inherit for several reasons:

  1. Valuation: It can be difficult to determine the value of collectibles. This is especially true if they’re rare or unusual. This can make it challenging to determine the fair distribution of the assets among heirs.
  2. Liquidity: Collectibles may not be easily converted into cash. This makes it difficult for heirs to access the value of the asset.
  3. Maintenance: Collectibles may require special care and maintenance in order to preserve their value. This can be a burden for heirs who are not interested in or do not have the knowledge or resources to properly care for the items.
  4. Disputes: Collectibles can be a source of conflict among heirs, especially if they have a sentimental or monetary value.
  5. Taxes: Inheriting collectibles may result in tax consequences, such as capital gains tax on the appreciation of the asset.

Hot Tip: If you have a collectible that you inherited, it’s always a good idea to get a valuation from an objective appraiser!

4. Art

Art can be a difficult asset to value. It’s often subject to personal taste and influenced by factors like the artist’s reputation, the piece’s condition, and current market demand. This makes it challenging to determine the fair market value of a piece of art. The value of the piece is important for tax purposes and for determining the distribution of the asset between heirs.

Art may not always appreciate in value, making it can be a risky inheritance. It may not generate income or even worse, may require significant resources to maintain and store. It’s important for individuals to carefully consider the risks and potential liabilities associated with inheriting art. Consult with a financial or legal professional for advice on how to manage these assets.

5. Debts

Debt isn’t something fun to inherit. It’s almost always a financial burden. If the debt isn’t paid, it can lead to negative consequences such as damage to the person’s credit score, legal action, and the seizure of assets. Additionally, inheriting debt can be stressful and can cause conflicts among heirs if they disagree on how to handle the debt.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial or legal professional to understand the specifics of the situation and to determine the best course of action.

6. Family Heirlooms

Just like collectibles and art, family heirlooms can be emotionally valuable. They may not always have a high monetary value, and they may be difficult to divide among multiple heirs.

That being said, it’s important for individuals to consider these factors when deciding whether or not to accept a family heirloom as an inheritance. It may be helpful to discuss the distribution of heirlooms with family members in advance to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.


In summary, inheriting certain assets can be a liability rather than a blessing, especially if they come with financial obligations, maintenance responsibilities, or potential legal issues. So, consulting with a financial or legal professional for advice on how to manage them is highly recommended.