Ask Paul: I'm about to inherit $360,000 - will I lose my pension?


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Q. My sister and I are about to inherit around US$250,000 each from an aunt. We are both on the aged pension.

What is the best way to have these funds sent to us, and how will it affect our pensions? - Linda

Wow, that is a nice bonus at this stage in your life! That will be about $360,000.

paul clitheroe

Moving money is expensive. I am not sure if it will be sent to you as a bank cheque or a transfer.

If a lawyer in the US is doing the transfer for you, you may get little choice about how this happens. The first step here is to understand what choice you have.

Once you understand the procedure, you may be able to have some say in how the transfer is done and the costs, in particular the currency conversion.

In terms of your pension, depending upon whether you are single pensioners, or couples, homeowners or non-home owners and of course your current assets, it may indeed have an impact on your pension.

Centrelink can assist here, but with such a large amount, professional, independent financial advice would be valuable to maximise your financial situation.

A large sum of money like this is such a windfall, even if you do lose some or all of your pension. The reality is your lifestyle will be better!

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Click here to ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. Please view our disclaimer here.

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