The process in which assets from an estate are distributed to heirs, called probate, is a slow one—taking 17 months on average in the United States. Once inheritors learn this, many start to look for ways to get their inheritance faster. An inheritance advance is a great way to put your inheritance funds to work right away, whether it’s to pay off debts, pay for pressing needs, or jump into a time sensitive investment. (By the way, here are some good ideas on how to put your inheritance to work for you, whether through investments or with inherited real estate.)
If you are the beneficiary of an estate, chances are you are not the only one, as most inheritances are divided between multiple beneficiaries or heirs. The key question is, does getting an advance on my inheritance have any effect on the other beneficiaries? Conversely, do the actions of other beneficiaries have any effect on my inheritance? In most cases the answer is simple: no. The inheritance advance transaction is between the company giving the advance and the specific heir who receives it. The estate as a whole, including other “pieces” within it—the shares of other beneficiaries—are not affected whatsoever. The heir who applied for the advance gets it quickly, and when the probate process reaches the point at which it distributes funds, the inheritance advance company is paid.
If there is no will or trust in place, the issue can be a bit more complicated, and can hinge on the nature of the relationship between the beneficiaries as discussed in this article. However, once an agreement is made between beneficiaries, and the estate is in probate, what each heir does with their share of the estate’s assets has no effect on the other beneficiaries—including getting an inheritance advance. The bottom line is, if a legal process exists (including probate), then inheritance advances can be made to one or all the heirs, without any effect on the other beneficiaries.