How do I inherit sensibly?
What is an inheritance scheme all about? Ultimately, only the personal freedom of everyone involved can be the overarching goal. So the ideal result for the testator would be to become so free of everything that at the moment of death he/she is able to turn around and look ahead. We can't live on in our children or heirs anyway and we shouldn't even try. The estate regulation is intended to free us for the great journey, not to entangle us further in earthly business. If you didn't trust anyone until the end, you have to do it now. Or not. It doesn't matter anymore. He who is dead is out of the earthly game. Responsibility for the material world lies with the living.
Becoming free also means freeing oneself from mixtures and guilt entanglements with other people: Towards the end of a lifetime, can the correct use of the acquired assets heal the lateral damage that may have occurred during its accumulation? "Anyone who dies rich dies indecently", Andrew Carnegie, a steel industrialist who has not always been considerate in his life, is quoted. Bill Gates and others seem to think alike. Christ anyway: "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God".
Who should get what?
Family: The importance of "family wealth" (which does not exist legally) to secure the material existence and care of family members is dwindling more and more. As a rule, every family member nowadays has his/her profession and own legal or private insurance. The testator can therefore feel substantially more free in testamentary dispositions than in the past.
The inheritance should support the descendants for their path, but not determine their path. Everyone carries his/her plan. This plan is to be respected. Thus the inheritance must fit the heir, not the heir must bend to the bequest. Burdening the heir with one's unrealised dreams is of no use to either of them.
Successor: Happy because free is the one who has achieved what he/she had planned at the end of his/her life. Those who find someone who wants to finish their unfinished work could also become happy and free. But you cannot buy that person. The task he/she takes on must fit into his/her own life. It must be his/her innate mission. And it must be designed so that he/she can fulfil it, finish it and become free him or herself. To maintain a family dynasty only for its own sake can no longer be a reasonable goal in a modern world of free people. The individual, the single person, even the foreign one, is always bigger and more valuable than a whole dynasty.
How much inheritance is adequate?
What is appropriate is determined by
- according to what's available. If that is little, little may also be enough. Sometimes the gesture is enough.
- according to what the intended heir can use sensibly. It should stimulate him/her, not paralyse or confuse one's powers.
- to the extent of the society in which the heir lives. If you overly favour him/her over his fellow human beings, then you disturb and burden his relationships with them. A disservice.
Inheritance seems to be unproblematic up to the country's average inheritance, i.e. the value that everyone could inherit theoretically. This should be somewhere between 200 and 300,000 € in Germany. An inheritance that goes beyond this requires a valid reason, a justification. Ultimately, this justification can only succeed if the heir and his/her legacy take on a task that has a corresponding significance for society as a whole and which only he/she alone can successfully implement. Though inheritors and heirs often lie to each other in this regard.
Our tips for you as a testator:
Widen your view. At the end of his life, man should be more than the unreasonable animal, which only has its brood in mind. Even concerning your descendants, the best thing you can do is leave the world behind at least a little bit better than you have found.
Finding people in the world who need help and finding problems that push for a solution is easy. The world will praise you if you alleviate misery with your estate, and we will praise you, too.
But if you also want to invest in justice in the world, that is, to address the systemic causes of hardship and poverty and to promote people in their self-development: Welcome to the club! You can use the foundation for your goal. It will develop a method to give assets directly to those young people who would otherwise inherit nothing. It will install an element of natural justice which has been lost. Join us and bring with us the first relay of a general basic inheritance on the way. This act will not leave the world untouched.