Other mistakes — not anticipating a tax hit on inherited retirement plans or making unwise investments — can also chip away at the money pot.

About half of all inheritances are less than $50,000, and an additional 30 percent range from $50,000 to $249,000, according to the Federal Reserve. Even small inheritances offer an opportunity to ease some burdens — and to fulfill some dreams — if deployed sensibly, experts say.

The New York Times interviewed those who inherited small and large amounts of money and property, as well as the financial experts who deal with these problems on a regular basis. They found that whether you come into a little money or a lot, waiting to make any moves is one of the best things to do first. Go here to read the stories and the recommendations.