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


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!


Paul Clitheroe AM is a respected financial adviser and Money's founder and editorial adviser. He is chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, and author of several personal finance books. Click here to email Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section.
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