I recently discussed creating Trusts for my children so they would be taken care of if something happened to their dad or me. The process was very straightforward and presented us with some very tough questions to answer, which we did without much difficulty.
Once everything was signed and in place, the lawyer recommended that we each write three letters. The first letter would be to the guardian(s) of the children to let them know our personal wishes on how the children should be raised. This letter to me is about sharing the tidbits of my relationship with the kids to help my sister-in-law and her hubby to raise them. For instance the morals I’ve tried to instill in both of them, the things I’ve tried to let go of and the things I’ve consistently held true on. Also, their personality traits, what motivates them, their hopes, dreams and deepest fears. I am sure that this letter will be hard but is necessary to help their aunt and uncle understand them on a deeper level to help ease the potentially difficult transition to a new life.
The second letter is to the Trustee(s) of the Trust, the folks who control the money. This is the fun letter. This is where I’ll say fabulous things like yes, Lily and Will can each buy a car when they turn 18 but it has to be safe, economical and they must be able to maintain insurance and upkeep on their own. I’m trying to keep the high end luxury cars out of their early driving years. It just wouldn’t be fair for me to look down from heaven and see them driving around in luxury at such an early age. I can also add wonderful stipulations like a 14 page essay must be written on every purchase they would like to make along with a detailed spreadsheet showing the cost analysis of the purchase. Yeah, I’m going to have fun with this one.
The third letter is the gut wrenching one. It’s the letter where I share all of the wisdom I’ve carried through my own life lessons and the lessons of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on. It’s where I share my hopes, worries and expectations for them as they grow. My ideas and tips on finances, love, career, friendship and most of all being true to yourself. It’s all the things I try to instill in them on a daily basis now but they just roll their eyes at me. It will be the longest of the three letters and most certainly the one that means the most. It will be my love letter to each of them.
So, as I embark on my letter writing exercise I wonder if any of you have gone through this process and have any words of wisdom you don’t mind sharing with me. Or have you been the recipient of any of the three letters and what do you wish was or wasn’t shared?