US Wills and Trusts - Leaving a LegacyWhat you leave behind matters. You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.” It’s can be difficult to think about that, but it’s true. When you leave this earth, what will be left behind? Everything that you’ve accumulated in your lifetime including your reputation, your family, and friends. The sum total of your life. If you’ve acquired debt, you’ll be leaving it behind, and the same holds true with wealth and property. How can you best serve your family and future generations with your wealth?

Susan’s grandfather did it with a living trust. Robert B.was a self-made man. He’d worked all of his life as a farmer and rancher. He was the owner of a moderately -sized property, had invested in some growth industries and had money in the bank. He’d made himself a millionaire several times over in his 91 years. As is the nature of farming,  he’d weathered losses, but had carried insurance. He’d also made deals the old-fashioned way on a handshake and a promise basis. Many mourned him in his community when he passed away. Robert created a trust about 5 years before he died, naming his four grandchildren and his second wife as the beneficiaries. He appointed his nephew and business manager as the trustee.

Robert’s nephew Tom had the job of gathering information on all of the assets of the trust after Robert passed away.  It turned out to be quite a long and arduous task due to some of the verbal agreements that Robert had made with other business people. There was very little documentation and on some, no official paperwork at all. Tom did his duty well and after some months was able to get all of the beneficiaries together to inform them of the total value of the trust and all of the assets it contained including houses, property, stock shares and interest in a couple of companies.

The trust provided for Robert’s widow to keep her current home and surrounding properties and to have a share in his agricultural company. The rest of the assets remaining were to be divided equally amongst the four grandchildren.  This was done with a virtual game of Monopoly, where shares of companies and property were traded back and forth between the four until each adult grandchild had an equal share.

The end result was that two of the grandchildren decided to buy out Robert’s widow from her share in the company and the other two kept their original share of the total value of the trust. This provided Susan and her sister not only a home and property but also shares in two companies. This gave them equity in their homes and dividend income annually. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind. Susan’s grandfather provided for his family in a very real way.

What you leave behind matters

You don’t have to be a millionaire to want to provide for your family’s future. If you own property, a business or have other assets, you can plan for helping your family after you’re gone by setting up an estate plan now while you’re healthy and able.  If your circumstances change, you can alter the trust. Right now you have control of how you want your wealth and property to be distributed in the event of your passing. This is a great service you can do for your family and loved ones. Susan’s grandfather had some very good advice in setting up his trust.

When you’re ready for the same good advice, contact U.S. Wills and Trusts. can have a conversation with an attorney who knows the answers to your questions about planning for your future. Call 714-584-7492 to get started.