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Spendthrift trusts

And he [Jesus – c. AD 32] said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. Luke 15: 11-14
 

Two sons – see bold above – but one is a spendthrift, a prodigal son.

He might even have been a prodigy. But that didn’t alter his prodigality – he wanted to spend, spend, spend.

Jersey’s financial services industry is helping many parents who have prodigal children. The Trusts (Jersey) Law allows for the creation under Jersey Law of trusts where the interest of a beneficiary in the trust property is restricted so as to stop the spendthrift beneficiary from over-spending the property placed in trust for that beneficiary.

On the Trinity main road at present a large granite property is today for sale – Linden Hall. It was purchased from the Le Bas family on 13 September 1913 by Charles George Ahier who went to live and farm there so that his eldest son – Charles Philip – could farm the original family farm nearby. Little did Charles George know but he was to be overtaken by fatal influenza within 4 years. Little did he know that his second son – Clarence George - was a spendthrift in one particular respect – he was a gambler.

Charles Philip inherited the family farm; Charles George inherited Linden Hall. Within a few years Linden Hall had been spent. Charles Philip Ahier was my grandfather.
 
 
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‘God made man to be somebody – not just to have things.’ (Anon.)  

Other fathers around the world today use Jersey spendthrift trusts so as to stop this happening. Two thousand years ago Jesus told the story – as a parallel – of a father who knew that his younger son was a spendthrift.

Despite everything, this father’s nature and character was to give. He did not hesitate to give half of his property to that younger son.

The inevitable happened. But the question arises – what is the meaning of this parallel? Was Jesus trying to say that His Father in heaven is like that father in the story? Is God above truly a giving God? Giving even if his property is going to be squandered – by his own child - in reckless living?

Yes.

But why? Why would God Almighty – the giver of all of the created world, the maker of the universe, the giver of all multiplying plant life (whatever that life may actually be; scientists don’t know and can only describe it and not create it), the giver of animal life (ditto), the giver of human life (ditto) – give it all to human beings, knowing that we would spend, gamble and abuse it all?

To answer that, we need to know how the parallel story continued – “And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
 
 
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‘Man was created for an empire, but is living in a pit.’ (H G Wells, Science Fiction Writer, 1866 - 1946)

 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

Almighty God isn’t interested in spendthrift trusts – or property. Instead he wants sons.
 
 
Richard Syvret

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