Lots of people talk about leaving a “Legacy” in a way that doesn’t resonate with me.
I hope my legacy is something like: “he was a good guy, had his sh*t together, honest and reliable, nice, wise, tried hard in everything he did.” That is the legacy I want to leave. I care much less about leaving millions of dollars of generational wealth to distant family that I’ll never meet.
If I died tomorrow without a plan in place, my actual wife, mom, siblings, future kids would have to go to court to settle my affairs. Why? Because if I don’t have a plan of my own, California’s plan take effect. Surprise surprise, California’s plan is probate court. Court is expensive, chaotic, a time suck, and it’s public. Don’t want that legacy.
So…am I the type of guy who will subject my actual wife, mom, siblings, future kids to a court case if I can prevent it? No, I am the type of guy who has his sh*t together, so that WHEN I pass, the process is as smooth as possible. Why? Because I don’t want to be “that guy.” My dad was “that guy” and I would be lying if I said that his decisions don’t taint his memory (aka legacy).
Sorry for all the “me me” talk, but seriously, we are all guaranteed to be subject to “a plan” at some point. Either: 1) your own plan; OR 2) California’s plan.
Most of our clients are not sitting on piles of generational wealth. They are folks who want to make adult decisions for their immediate family. To decrease the chance that they leave a mess for their actual family members whom they eat meals with every day.
If you don’t have a foundational family estate plan in place, get educated. This is a baseline topic for adult humans. You can do it yourself for free, or you can hire someone who knows about stuff. If you’re a chips-fall-where-they-may guy, fine, but just for a second put yourself in the shoes of your wife, husband, kids. Most people don’t want their legacy to be “[your name] passed away, ya we miss him…it’s been a mess, probate is brutal.” If you don’t want that, you probably have to make moves. Good luck!