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Few Seek Advice About Investing Inherited Money

IF you're expecting an inheritance, most likely you plan to invest it. But the big question is how.

In a recent Phoenix Home Life survey, 66 percent of 1,000 respondents said they expect to receive an inheritance averaging $135,000, primarily in the form of money and real estate. While 59 percent plan to invest their inheritance, 42 percent said they were uncertain about the best way to go about it. More than half (55 percent) reported that they rely on friends or their own reading and research for financial advice. Respondents were between the ages of 30 and 60 and live in households where at least one person earns $40,000 or more annually.

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``What's surprising about this survey is most people with inheritances are relying on themselves,'' says Robert Fiondella, chief executive officer of Phoenix Home Life. ``But maybe relying on yourself and your own judgment and skill is not the right way to go. Most people need to seek professional advice and council.''

Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of the respondents said they were not involved in planning the will containing the expected inheritance, and one-half said they have not discussed the will's provisions with the owner.

Furthermore, 40 percent of the respondents with an average estate of $260,000 have not made a will of their own, and 40 percent of those without a will say they do not intend to make one, citing lack of time, laziness, or never having thought of it before. ``A will is a way to anticipate problems and avoid them,'' Mr. Fiondella says. ``If you ask parents if they want their kids to fight over an estate, none would. A will is a way to establish order and fairness.''

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