A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22

The book of Proverbs clearly teaches that it is good to leave an inheritance behind for our children. Paul Stein wants to remind us that when thinking about inheritance, there is much more to it than just the tangible assets.

“I think there’s also that intangible inheritance; our faith, our values, life lessons, all those things. I would think beyond just the tangibles including the money and the stuff. I would be mindful that people are infinitely more important than stuff.”

If a parent has been estranged from their child for years, should they still honor the biblical teachings and leave a portion of their inheritance to them? Paul shares helpful advice,

“As a believer, my heart’s desire is that there’s nothing more important than my kids putting their faith in Christ alone. I would be mindful of what can I do that that would encourage my estranged child that would maybe prod them towards the Lord and not hinder that?”

“It might be including them in with some financial part of the inheritance, and maybe in a limited way. I think in situations like this, it’s even about the importance of communicating why you did what you did in your estate, what your heart’s desire for that child is, etc.”

Including your child to be a recipient of your inheritance may present a good opportunity for you to communicate your desires effectively.

“I think of the soldier. My understanding is that soldiers always write a letter to carry with them; it might be to their wife, it might be to the kids, or it might be to mom or dad. If they don’t survive, that’s what’s important to them to communicate.”

“With your estate plan, you have an opportunity like that – that’s your letter. Write out or record to your child all of your wishes, your heart’s desires and what you want, even in your grief over being estranged.”

Kirby Stoll points out that in this situation, it’s also important to take into consideration other children that are involved.

“Think about the statement it makes when you pass away. If three of the four children inherent something, how is that going to affect the relationships of those who come after you? How are your children going to be able to get along afterwards?”

Leaving your inheritance behind can be a complicated process, especially if there are any estranged relationships. Nevertheless, it’s important to adhere to wise, biblical counsel in order to move forward in the right direction.

Paul Stein, Certified Financial Planner™, is President and Founder of Advanced Retirement Resources. For more than 20 years Paul has provided insightful financial expertise guiding clients as they prepare for, transition into and navigate their retirement years. Paul is a frequent guest expert on radio, and an esteemed speaker nationally on various financial planning topics.

Kirby Stoll is Assistant Vice President for Gift Planning & Event Operations at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul. He is also Vice President of the Northwestern Foundation.

Leaving an inheritance for your children

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