January 31, 2011
Legacy lands of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Just the words can conjure up images of pyramids, hieroglyphics, enormous powerful god-men with the broad shoulders faced forward and the head, legs and feet faced sideways.  Think how long ago all that was created.  The pyramids were built around 3000 years before the common era (before Christ), some 5000 years ago.  The temples of Ramses II were built in the mid 1200s BCE.  Those are the temples with gigantic statues of Ramses II at the entry and images of him conquering, literally standing on, his defeated enemies.

Those Egyptians had strong religious beliefs which led them to want to be resurrected, brought back to life. To this end they had their bodies mummified, they had beautiful things and much treasure buried in their tombs, and they waited for rebirth on earth; for the soul (ka) to reunite with the preserved body.
The Sphinx
Egyptian Scene from Julia's 2011 Trip

As far as anyone knows, the mummies never again walked on earth although the idea has spawned myriads of great horror movies. But, what is important to me is that although these long ago people of Egypt did not attain physical immortality, they did attain another sort of immortality. Although their physical being is not immortal, their reputation lives on. Because of the solidity of what they built, because of the beauty of their jewelry and artwork, even of their writing, succeeding
generations of people have knowledge of them which lives on and on and on.
And now, how will you be remembered?

One area where you can plan how you will be remembered is in your WILL (and your LIVING TRUST). Do you have a WILL? You really must. I am serious. You must write down OR HAVE WRITTEN DOWN on paper (not just in your computer, unprinted and unsigned) exactly what you want to have happen after you are gone.  


After years of practicing in the area of estate planning I understand the reasons why people don't have WILLs. These are NOT really reasons, but excuses. So let's recast the task.

It is time for you to take charge of your immortality.
The Riddle of Your Immortality You won't have a pyramid built, you probably won't have a mural carved and painted showing your religious beliefs and how you are favored in the afterlife, but your decisions here and now about writing your WILL (and living trust, perhaps) will create your immortality. 

Here's what you do.  

  • Call my office and set an appointment to do a full estate plan.   - or -
  • Call my office and just set an appointment to do a Will. A WILL probably isn't enough, but it is a first step.  - or -
  •  As a last resort and an interim measure do this:
    • Sit down with a piece of paper and pen, write the date, write exactly what you want to happen to all the assets you have worked hard to earn and to save, you have invested carefully, you have been given.
    • If you have minor children, write down the name or names of the person or people whom you trust to be their guardian, and an alternate guardian, for the person and estate of your minor children.
    • Specify who gets your treasure of money and whatever you own. Maybe it is not a castle or a temple but it is important. Whoever owns it after you will be grateful. They will remember you. Do you favor a charity, a lover, a grandchild? Say so.
    • Name your Executor.


This is what needs, at a minimum, to be in your WILL.


Write your own WILL, in your own handwriting. Then sign it.  


 Make a couple of copies. Put the original WILL in a very safe place, like a safe or safe deposit box. You are done for now.   

I love to think that all my friends and clients and colleagues are spending the first week of February thinking about their immortality, about their legacy, about how they will be remembered by their favorite charities, their favorite spouse, their children and grandchildren, their parents, their friends, and maybe even their dogs and cats.


Not only are these people whom I care about thinking about this important subject, they (YOU) are taking action.



Julia Wald
The Law Offices of Julia Wald

4 seated from Julia's Trip
Egyptian Legacies Seen by Julia in 2011

If you are
one of my
clients and
have done your estate plan with me, pat yourself on the back.


But don't stop there.

Has it been more than 2 years since you reviewed your living trust?  Take it out and read it! Does the document still reflect your wishes?

You have changed, the laws have changed, the estate tax laws changed just weeks ago.

It is time for a review if we haven't talked in awhile.

I hope this newsletter opens ideas in your mind about your legacy. Maybe you have ideas about what should be written down.


If you don't write a Will or other estate planning document, your wealth will go to your family as provided by California law.  


But they will be getting your "stuff" not because you gave it to them but because a faceless set of books said they get it.  


Consider this: would you like to find $5 on the ground or have a friend hand it to you with a big smile and say, "Here this is for you because you are my friend. I want you to have this. I appreciate you"?


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