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The Wayward Child

Article Type: Biblical Stewardship

What do you do for a child who has abandoned their faith or severed their relationship from you? This is the dilemma many families face when drafting their estate plans.

While it is sometimes appropriate to reduce or reconfigure a child’s inheritance, an estate plan can also serve as a powerful, redemptive document.

Years ago, a Barnabas Foundation planner met with a couple whose son had turned his back on his childhood values and alienated himself from the family. Above all, the couple was heartbroken over the loss of this relationship – but they also had practical decisions to make.

“Should we disinherit him?” the father wondered aloud. As he did in every estate planning conversation, the planner asked, “What do you want your last statement to be – to your family and to the world – about what’s most important to you?”

The couple decided to use their plan as a final statement of grace and reconciliation, including an estate distribution (albeit reduced) to their son. Rather than reinforcing the fractured relationship, they extended an olive branch of grace. They wanted their last statement to be an invitation back into communion with their family and the Lord.

Do you have a wayward child or an otherwise difficult family dynamic to navigate?

Pray, seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, and trust there is a God-honoring solution that communicates your love for the Kingdom and your family when you've gone to be with the Lord.

Sharing Your Estate Plan With Your Loved Ones

A Guide for Your Family Meeting

A family meeting can protect your children and other heirs from the uncertainty and drama that far too many families navigate after a loved one passes away. This resource will help everyone get on the same page and open the door to healthy dialogue about your values, goals and estate plan.

Download “Sharing Your Estate Plan” PDF