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Inheritance refers to the assets that an individual bequeaths to his or her heirs upon their death. This can include cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, personal property, and other types of assets. The distribution of these assets to the intended beneficiaries is often governed by a legal document called a will.


The phonetic pronunciation of the word “Inheritance” is: /ɪnˈherɪtəns/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Single Inheritance: Inheritance allows a derived class to inherit the properties and methods of a base(parent) class. This means you can create a new class based on an existing class which leads to reusability of code and cleaner programming.
  2. Hierarchy: Inheritance can be single, multiple, multilevel and hierarchical, enabling a variety of relationships between classes. Hierarchical inheritance enables many derived classes to have one base class hence creating a tree-like structure of related classes.
  3. Polymorphism: Inheritance is often used in tandem with polymorphism to override or extend base class methods in the derived classes. This provides increased flexibility in how objects of the derived classes can behave.



Inheritance is a significant term in business/finance because it refers to the assets, bonds, stocks, money, property, and other valuables that are passed down from one individual, typically upon their death, to another individual or individuals, often their legal heirs. It is important because it affects wealth distribution in society and can significantly impact an individual’s financial status. Inheritance can provide financial stability, create opportunities for investment, and even facilitate business succession planning. Furthermore, the understanding of inheritance laws and taxes is crucial in estate planning to maximize benefits and reduce potential liabilities on inheritances for the beneficiaries.


Inheritance, in the realm of finance and business, primarily refers to the assets or wealth that an individual bequeaths to their descendants, relatives, or other beneficiaries after their demise. The purpose of an inheritance is to transfer wealth between generations, ensuring financial stability and economic continuity for the heirs. It can comprise various types of assets, including but not limited to, cash, properties, investments, businesses, and personal belongings. Indeed, this passing-on of assets serves as an essential financial planning tool, enabling individuals to secure the financial future of their loved ones after their passing.Inheritance is also used as a mechanism for maintaining or growing familial wealth across generations. For example, a family owned business is often passed down to the next generation to ensure its continuity. Additionally, valuable real estate or investment assets may be inherited with the aim of preserving or enhancing family wealth. Inheritances can also help reduce wealth gaps among beneficiaries by providing assets that can be used to generate income, foster growth, or alleviate financial hardship. These transfers directly impact the wealth distribution within and between families and, on a macro level, can significantly influence a country’s economic landscape.


1. Property Inheritance: A man who has recently lost his father inherits the family house. His father owned the entire property and upon his passing, left the house to his son in his last will and testament. Now, the son becomes the legal owner of the house and can decide to live in it, rent it out, or sell it. Receiving the house is an example of inheritance.2. Inheritance of Business: Consider a successful bakery owned by a woman who decides to retire. Instead of selling the business, she passes it down to her daughter. The daughter now inherits the business, including its commercial assets, customer base and, in some cases, even the existing workforce. This is an example of business inheritance.3. Financial Asset Inheritance: If a person was named the beneficiary of a relative’s financial accounts, bonds, stocks, or cash savings, they will inherit these assets after the relative’s death. For example, a woman may name her nephew as the beneficiary for her savings account. Upon her passing, the nephew will inherit the funds within that savings account. This is an example of financial asset inheritance.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is inheritance in finance and business?

Inheritance refers to the assets or property that a person receives post the death of a relative or friend. This usually follows a legal process documented in a will.

How does an inheritance work?

When a person dies, their assets are typically delegated to their legal heirs as specified in their will. If the deceased has not left a will, inheritance laws will determine division of their estate.

Who is an heir?

An heir is a person who is legally entitled to inherit some or all of the assets of another person who has died, usually a direct relative such as a child or spouse.

What types of assets can be inherited?

Almost any kind of assets can be inherited. This may include real estate property, bank savings, business interests, investments, personal items among others.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document in which a person specifies how their assets should be distributed after their demise.

Are inheritances taxable?

Tax laws vary by country and sometimes by states or provinces within countries. Inheritance tax, if applicable, generally depends on the value of the assets inherited.

What if no will has been left?

If no will has been left by the deceased, the laws of the country or state will determine how the estate is divided among surviving relatives in what’s known as ‘Intestate Succession’.

What does a probate court do?

Probate court supervises and manages the distribution of a deceased person’s estate, ensuring payment of any debts and taxes, with the remaining assets going to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.

What is a trust fund in context of inheritance?

A trust fund is a legal arrangement where assets are transferred into a trust to be managed by a trustee for the benefit of named beneficiaries. It can be used to control the timing and conditions of inheritance.

Can an inheritance be contested?

Yes, an inheritance can be contested, usually by a potential heir who feels they have been wrongly excluded or treated unfairly. The process can be complex and generally requires legal assistance.

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