Thanks for the replys!!
Saddly inorder to get this, I lost my uncle (6 yrs ago) whos money went to my grandmother who lost her LONG battle to cancer in July. If I could trade the money back in for them another day I would in a heart beat!!
My brother is already talking about how hes going to invest his, but hes a get rich kinda guy. I want a smart approach to this, so I like the waiting 6 months - a yr idea. I have some phone calls into some banks / financial places around where I live, but the problem is I live in a very small rural town so this is a totally different case then most are use to. I love having some information on my side.
I was looking into treasury bonds but was not sure what people thought as it seemed to tie your money up for years.
I'm sorry to hear about your loss and I think all of us understand that you'd much rather have them back than have the money.
You might suggest that your brother go along with you when to visit banks and also read this forum. At your age half a million dollars is life changing. You can put it away in a safe investment and live your life as you normally would knowing that it is there when you retire. Your brother might have enough or he might blow it all trying to swing for the fences. If he (or you) have some lifelong dream to travel of 6 months or open a small business with ~$50k or so, I wouldn't have a big problem with that. But this is enough money to make it so you know you will always have that nest egg to support you if needed so in that sense it is life altering.
Since you live in a small town you might consider putting 1/3 of the money in 1 bank in the small town and split the rest between two banks in a larger city even if it is an hour or two drive. The key thing is that the money be FDIC insured. When you talk to the bank they might tell you that there are ways to deposit in one bank to have the full amount FDIC insured. If so, that is fine.
After thinking about this since this morning I'll just add another piece of advice. You have enough money to get preferential treatment and you should expect that. I'm not saying you should expect the bank to send a limo to pick you up but you certainly should get a private meeting with a bank officer for as long as you need to understand all the details that you are unsure about.
But be careful and just a little cynical/suspicious. The bank is also going to want to get its hands on your money just to get the fees. Because even low fees of 1% a year or so is $5000 a year! Don't even think about investing at a bank, except maybe CDs.
Call up Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, and maybe Fidelity and explain that you just inheritted half a million and your brother did as well. Ask them to send you information about their services and their fees. They might just refer you to their web page but I suspect any of those three will gladly send you information in the mail including a lot of educational material. Get some sent to your brother as well...you can always hope he comes to his senses.
The bottom line is that you should be very careful with this money, especially now. I have heard stories of "advisors" who watch the obituaries and probate records and cold call the beneficiaries to try to get their hands on the money. While scams doing the same thing also occur, it is not unheard of for legitimate advisors to do this just to get your money under management to generate the fees. Ultimately you might want to go that route, but don't let anyone rush you into anything. There is absolutely no reason not to put the money away safely and wait 6 months to a year or longer while you meet with people and educate yourself.