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Don’t Miss the Two Types of Inheritance and Why Everyone Leaves One!

Did you know that there are two types of inheritance?

Legal and spiritual. A legal inheritance is what we traditionally think of: Someone has a will or trust and leaves money or property to an heir. It’s pretty straightforward and can be done without a lot of emotion or conversation, in many cases. In fact, most people who have a valid will or trust make the decision almost by default: The kids should get it all.

In fact, Russell James, a professor at Texas Tech University, indicates that only 5-6% of Americans include a charitable beneficiary. Stated differently, 95% of Americans don’t include charity in their estate planning.¹

A second kind of inheritance is a spiritual or values-based inheritance. The Bible has many references to inheritance. A spiritual inheritance is an irrevocable gift that includes material and spiritual blessings. The initial inheritance concept is God’s promise to Abraham of a land, a kingdom, and a righteous remnant who will inherit the world as an everlasting possession.²

In the spiritual context, an eternal, or everlasting, inheritance is available only for those who subscribe to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not surprising that the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”³ Jesus’ response is quite simple: “…you who have followed me.”

On the other hand, everyone will leave an inheritance. While not everyone may leave a legal inheritance—a legal inheritance depends on some level of financial wealth—everyone will leave a values-based inheritance.

We all touch people. We will all leave a story behind—whether it is good or bad. Not all of us will get the choice to leave a financial legacy, but we will all get the choice of how to leave a values-based legacy.

³Matthew 19.16

Related articles:
Saving Samantha-the Lost Legacy
Why Do I Write About Family Legacy?
Don’t Give Your Kids Money

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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