Planning to Leave Your Children An Inheritance?

posted Feb 20, 2013, 6:21 AM by Willie T. Butler   [ updated Oct 29, 2013, 6:25 AM ]

My advice is to every Christian parent is to allow God’s Kingdom perspective to take precedent in all aspects of our financial decision-making.  You will not go wrong!

On the subject of inheritance, one of America’s richest men was quoted as adhering to the following philosophy.    Billionaire Warren Buffet said about leaving money to kids, Wealthy parents should leave their children with enough money to do anything they want but not so much that they are doomed to do nothing at all.”   That is a great sentiment, but notice that Buffet’s advice was directed at other wealthy people.   And why is that?  Should not this same advice apply universally?

In a Los Angeles Times article published September 5, 2011, the author Walter Hamilton cited an opposite sentiment as expressed among Baby-Boomers who said they planned to leave nothing to their children.  Hamilton says that “Unlike previous generations, some baby boomers believe they've already given their children enough, and they plan to spend the money they've saved on themselves.”  As a Baby-Boomer myself, I find this point of view troubling both as representing a selfish mindset, and because it is the opposite of a Kingdom perspective for succession planning.

Baby-Boomers are also known as the “sandwiched generation,” meaning that many have had to care for aging parents—from the Post-Depression era—while raising their children and planning for their retirement years.   Some have escaped this challenge, but many are still living it today.   So, how their financial pie gets split is in many ways dictated rather than selected.  Accordingly, when it comes to estate planning, less than 30% of Boomers have any idea what an estate plan should even look like, let alone have decided not to leave an inheritance to their progeny.

That is on a practical, real-world basis.  But there is another perspective that is far more significant to many, especially once they realize that doing so is very achievable.   I am referring to one of many Biblical references found in Proverbs 13:22 which say that “A good man [i.e. parents] should leave an inheritance to their children’s children…”    This verse not only encourages that our children receive a legacy from us but that our grandchildren inherit as well.

So, which category do you fit into as a parent contemplating your estate?  Are you wealthy?  Are you a Baby-Boomer who believes you are right to leave nothing to your children?  Or, does the Proverbs 13:22 verse have any significance to you?

If you have any questions about these scenarios and how to develop an estate plan that fits your faith, why not give us a call?