Whether it's money you were banking on or a pleasant surprise, an inheritance is a gift that should not be frittered away.
Indeed, beneficiaries to an estate should be no more frivolous with found money than they are with their regular income, said Susan Bradley, a former financial planner and founder of the Sudden Money Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
"People often think that if they had an inheritance they'd buy a Bentley or an Audi sports car, but just because you've always dreamed of doing that doesn't mean you should," she said. "Don't think of it as free money that you can blow."
Click ahead to see several ways you can make the most of an inheritance.
—By Shelly K. Schwartz, Special to CNBC.com
Posted on 19 Nov. 2013