Writing Your Will

So Josh in our Five Minute Fatherhood Facebook group, go check that out if you are not a part of it, he asked the question, wills, trust, future planning? We’re new to family teams. So if you cover this in the past apologize, but full disclosure, I know absolutely nothing about wills or trusts. I just hear about them a lot. What do we do with that? Great question, Josh. So I will… So much of this I would put in the category of certain things that you need to have figured out at certain points along the way as you’re building your family team. So I would say wills are a very, very early thing to figure out. Wills, the most important thing about wills are you need to make clear how you want, or where you want your kids to go in the event of you and your wife, tragically, suddenly passing.

And so I would say that’s a very early decision to make. Wills are really easy to make. You can go online and there’s like the easy button. Printing out something on LegalZoom, having a notary take care of that for you, get that done very, very quickly and easily. I would say that’s sort of a no brainer. And I think every couple should do that fairly early. And there’s questionnaires online, and oftentimes as you go through the will process, they will ask you all the good questions that are very basic. And obviously the likelihood that this is going to happen is very, very low. And what you’re primarily trying to make clear is what are your wishes? So that you’re not leaving your children in particular with complete cluelessness about what those might look like.

There’s another step that I would say is between a will and a trust that I would… I’m releasing a Dad’s Building Teams podcast around, which is a legacy letter. Our friend Blake Brewer has started a company, and his story is crazy, his dad died suddenly from, drowned actually in Hawaii, on a family vacation. And when he got back to his hotel room, his just… His dad just died in the hospital. And when he got back to his hotel room with his mother, everyone’s just absolutely shattered. His mother’s looking through Blake’s dad’s suitcase, and discovers a letter to Blake in the event of his death that he had been working on. And it completely changed Blake’s life, what was written in that letter. And so Blake has dedicated his life to helping dads write legacy letters to their kids in the event that that’s needed.

So I would say that’s the second step I would go to. So will’s like the most basic thing. Right a will, make sure that your wishes are known and that you’re not putting your kids in a really tough situation. And there’s not a custody battle after you die. The second thing I would say that you want to do is write a legacy letter to your children, in the event that you pass so that they’re just aware of your heart for them. So they have something to hang on to in the decades that they have to live without a dad, which is incredibly difficult, tragic. And if you want to do that, check out what Blake’s doing, he’s got a company called The Endurance and you can go on there and he’s got a whole process and he takes cohorts of dads through the process of writing their legacy letters. I’m in one of those cohorts right now.

The third thing I would say is, you asked about what trusts. Okay, so I’m not a lawyer. I’ll tell you what I know about trusts. We do have trusts. I would say that my understanding, or at least the way that I’ve walked through that question, is that trusts become important when there are assets that you are concerned about passing onto your kids in a particular way. So for example, we have business equity. And so we decided to create a trust and put a lot of our assets in the trust, because if something happened to us, because we own assets, if you don’t have a trust and things, aren’t really, really tight and clear, then your entire estate goes into probate. And there’s lots of bad things that can happen when your estate goes into probate, including a lot of competitive information can get released to the public about your businesses. And things like that could really harm those businesses.

So just as a matter of course, April and I have spent a lot of time working out our trust. And also it just makes things way easier and smoother in the event that something does happen. And so, again, the more complex your financial situation is, the more I would say actually having a trust becomes important. There’s all kinds of legal and tax implications there as well. We can’t get into in five minutes. But that’s my five minute answer to your question, Josh. But yeah, Jeff have you thought through any of these elements? What are your thoughts on this?

Yes. I would just echo everything you said, and then I won’t add more except to say, go read the book, I believe it’s Family Wealth by James Hughes. I think that’s just a really cool story on that book too. Where he’s just basically a legal, advisor to really rich, wealthy families, 20, 30, 40 years ago, and had done it for decades. And then he was seeing so many families still drop the ball on this type of stuff. He basically wrote like a 500 page book on every last little thing to think through, privately. Like he privately wrote this and just kind of more gave it to clients and it became so… People loved it so much that literally it got forced into publishing. So it’s a really fascinating story, but the subtitle says it all. It’s how family members and their advisors preserve their human, intellectual, and financial assets for generations to come. So just read that, it just gets all your brain in the right space. More than I could ever do. But it’s super, super fascinating and compelling.

Latest Episode

Listen To Our Latest Podcast



Start Building a
Multigenerational Family Team

Live events







Family scouting report