In June 2011 a man in Utah unexpectedly inherited a "significant" amount of money from his deceased brother. Following a two month search for the man, a private investigator finally located him; he was homeless, he had no address or phone. The significant amount turned out to be $100,000.00.
Recently the Planned Giving Design Center published an article by John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish titled, "Why the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer Estimate is Still Valid". The article projects that in the U.S. in the 55 year period between 1998 and 2052, $25 trillion of wealth will be transferred by inheritance from the estates of the deceased to their heirs. Another $16 trillion of their wealth will go to charity, to taxes and to fees.
"Nonetheless, heirs of wealthy estates will likely receive hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars apiece, while heirs of less affluent estates will receive at most thousands of dollars apiece, while tens of millions of potential heirs will receive little or nothing at all."
Families having less than $1 million in assets spend down their wealth much more than families with more than $1 million in assets.
No doubt this is the explanation for the bumper sticker seen on some motor homes: "We are spending our children's inheritance."
This next example shows how some people do not want to leave their estates to their relatives.
According to "The Saginaw News", by the end of 2011, 12 heirs will share an estate valued at $100 million to $110 million. In 1919 a Michigan lumber baron, who was among eight of the wealthiest Americans, died. The stipulations of his will have withheld his estate from his descendants for 92 years.
"He is finally parting with the fortune he withheld from his descendants until 21 years after the death of the last grandchild born in his lifetime."
The youngest heir, now 19 years old, said, "I'm pretty sure he didn't like his family back then."
These examples of inheritances are funny, very impressive and even tragic.
An inheritance worth more than $41 trillion
True Christians look forward to a much larger inheritance than $25 trillion split millions of ways, or $100 million split 12 ways!
As co-heirs with Jesus Christ and future spirit beings, they look forward to inheriting the Kingdom of God, which will encompass all things—that is, the whole universe (Matthew 25:34; Hebrews 2:5-10).
The "wealth" of the universe is just one factor, because they will also inherit the priceless gift of eternal life! (John 3:16). Among other things, that means that they never have to pass this inheritance on.
This "largest inheritance ever" will benefit the whole world. The saints who inherit the Kingdom of God will serve all mankind as beneficent kings and priests on earth, assisting Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:10).
As kings, they will be incorruptible rulers, so they will administer government with honesty and justice. And they will always have the best interests of their subjects in mind. The government of God will be administered in Godly love.
That government will also be administered with Godly wisdom, so they will have insight that no human leader has.
As priests, the saints will teach the truth. There will be no more teaching lies about any matters, especially about religious matters. Knowing the truth will end religious confusion.
Estate Planning for the Kingdom of God
How can one prepare to participate in this greatest inheritance of all: the inheritance of the Kingdom of God?
You might call such preparation a form of "estate planning."
True Christians do this "estate planning" by living Godly principles now. They seek first the Kingdom God and His righteousness ahead of other interests.
In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
They know that they cannot earn this inheritance, because it is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). But they also know that He expects certain behavior from His children, which shows Him that they love Him.
That behavior is defined by the Ten Commandments. 1 John 5:3 says, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
They strive to avoid disqualifying themselves by carefully being obedient to God, by being diligent in loving God and their neighbors, in showing mercy, in faithfully serving Jesus Christ now, and in patiently overcoming their sins.
Unlike the wealthy lumber baron who withheld his fortune from his descendants, our heavenly Father has a different attitude. In Luke 12:32 Jesus said, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give to you the Kingdom".
That will be the largest—and best—inheritance ever!