Handling Inherited Assets as an EAK: A Guide to Estate Management

Estranged Adult Kids (EAKs) often face unique challenges when dealing with inherited assets. Inheriting assets from a parent or family member can be a bittersweet experience, especially for those who have chosen to go no contact or distance themselves from their family due to toxic dynamics or emotional trauma. In such situations, managing the estate can be emotionally and financially taxing. This guide aims to provide support and guidance for EAKs navigating the complex terrain of estate management.

Understanding the Emotional Impact

Inheritance is typically associated with feelings of grief and loss. For EAKs, this emotional journey can be even more complex. On one hand, there may be feelings of sorrow over the loss of a family member or a parent, regardless of the estrangement. On the other hand, receiving inherited assets might stir up unresolved feelings related to the estrangement itself.

EAKs may wrestle with guilt, questioning their decisions and whether they should accept the inheritance. It’s essential to remember that feelings of guilt are often the grief of the family they wish they had, rather than an indication of wrongdoing.


Recognising Your Rights and Boundaries

As an EAK, it’s crucial to remember that you have the same legal rights and entitlements as any other beneficiary. Being estranged from your family does not negate your right to inherit assets, and you should feel empowered to claim what is rightfully yours – if that is your wish.

However, it’s also essential to set boundaries during this process. If you find that dealing directly with other family members might be emotionally harmful or overwhelming, consider hiring an estate attorney or executor to handle the estate’s distribution.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Managing an estate can be complex, especially if it involves significant assets, investments, or businesses. As an EAK, you might feel unequipped to handle such responsibilities on your own. In such cases, seeking professional guidance can be invaluable.

Enlist the help of financial advisors, estate planners, or tax consultants who can provide expert advice tailored to your unique situation. Having professionals on your side can help ensure you make informed decisions that align with mental well-being.

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Navigating Family Dynamics

In cases where the inheritance involves shared assets with estranged family members, navigating family dynamics can be challenging. Tensions and conflicts may arise during the estate distribution process. To avoid unnecessary confrontations, consider communicating through written channels or with the assistance of a neutral third party.

Preserving Family Heirlooms and Memories

Inheritance often includes sentimental items and family heirlooms that hold emotional value. For EAKs, deciding what to do with these cherished possessions can be heart-wrenching. Before making any hasty decisions, take the time to reflect on the emotional significance of these items.

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Finding Support within the EAK Community

Navigating estate management as an EAK can be overwhelming, but remember that you’re not alone. Connect with others who share similar experiences in the EAK community. Online forums, support groups, or social media platforms like Breakaway’s subreddit r/EstrangedAdultKids can be valuable sources of empathy, guidance, and validation.

Sharing your journey with others who understand the complexities of estrangement and inheritance can be a source of comfort during this emotionally charged time.

Choosing not to inherit what has been left to you

Estranged adult kids (EAKs) may find themselves faced with a challenging dilemma – not wanting to inherit what has been left to them. This situation can stir up a whirlwind of emotions and raise various ethical and moral questions. As an EAK, you might question whether you have the right to refuse an inheritance or worry about the perceptions of others. It’s crucial to remember that your feelings are entirely valid, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate this decision.

Not accepting the inheritance is perfectly valid. As is donating it to a charity that aligns with your views, or a cause you champion like anti-abuse, anti-racism, anti-bigotry or LGBTQ+. Alternatively you may want to accept it to finance life-long therapy or to start an independent life.


Handling inherited assets as an EAK is a multifaceted journey that involves navigating emotions, setting boundaries, and making informed decisions. By recognizing your rights and seeking professional guidance, you can approach estate management with confidence and poise.

Remember to honour your feelings, preserve cherished memories, and build your own financial legacy. As you undertake this process, find strength in the support of the EAK community and the knowledge that you are not alone in this complex terrain. Embrace this opportunity to empower yourself and create a path that aligns with your values and aspirations.