The Transfer Decision – 3 Questions to Answer When Transferring Wealth

When we think about wealth transfer, the very first question is where does it go?  Who gets it?  And you really only have three choices.  You can leave it to heirs, you can leave it to charity, or you can leave it, in some cases, to the government, and to attorneys in terms of expenses.

When considering where you might leave your wealth, I think there are three principles to follow. 

First of all is the treasure principle.  Matthew 6:19-24 says you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.  That’s my summary of Matthew 6:19-24.  You can send it on ahead of you.  So where is your treasure going to be – is it going to here or is it going to be in eternity?

Second is what I call the unity principle.  That is that a husband and wife should be in perfect agreement on where that wealth goes to.  That is a difficult task in a lot of cases, because husbands and wives have different ways of looking at things.  And so, coming to a unified decision will allow you come to the best decision.

Third is the wisdom principle.  Very succinctly, it says: If you’re not going to leave wisdom, for sure don’t leave wealth.  Wisdom can create wealth.  Wealth almost never creates wisdom.  In fact, it may be the biggest detriment to wisdom, because wisdom comes from life experiences.  And the more you leave your children or your grandchildren or your great-grandchildren, the more you’re shielding them from life’s experiences. 

Today, as you consider a “to whom?” choice in your life (whether it’s cars or foundations or your estate as a whole), take the time to step back and ask yourself the underlying questions:

1) Does this transfer reflect where I want to put my treasure?

2) Is this decision made in unity with my spouse?

3) Does the person I’m giving this to have the wisdom to handle the resources I am giving to them?