Wills, Trusts, and Digital Legacy

Random Observation/Comment #696: Start building towards your legacy for the ones you care about most.

Learning From My Parents

My parents are retired and I often tell them, “Spend all your money, and you’ll make us very happy.” I want them to enjoy the experiences they sacrificed while chasing the American dream as immigrants. I want them to spend time on building relationships and enjoying a community. They’ve already passed on their legacy by giving me the gift of education and a loving home. There’s not much more I can ask for besides recipes and taxes. I feel like they’re now in my Board of Advisors, and I just want to show them how well their investment has grown.

Given this perspective what would you pass on? I wrote a blogpost when Evie was born around the Legacy I’d hope to leave for her manifesting in open ideas:

  • Where we were known,
  • Who we were known as, and
  • How we are immortalized.

What has changed with a digital world, though? Do you pass on a digital brand if you have a lot of followers or certain badges? Do you pass on a website of memoirs? A story?

Money

  • Fiat cash accounts – This is the most boring thing to pass on, but it’s necessary to list. Giving too much money to someone too young could inhibit motivation or make them think money is the most important part to life – TL;DR: It’s not. You can be wealthy and not distracted with status.
  • Cryptocurrency – Most of what I leave will likely be on cold storage. I count this as a digital asset right now, but they may just be the same value of currency in the future. I think there’s more value in passing on this digital asset as a gift without an intermediary. Who knows if my daughter wants to live in the US? I’d rather put my legacy on a medium that knows no Nation State restrictions and borders.
  • Digital/crypto Trust – I will probably pass on most of my assets in the form of a Trust for very specific circumstances (once they turn 18) and for specific purposes (only using for education-type expenses). It’ll probably be in the form of a Crypto Trust if we can work out all the legal documentation.
  • Crypto Will – It’s never a bad idea to add some legal backing to the assets that cannot be seized. At least put together some instructions for your loved ones on how to maintain a fairly complex world of being your own bank.

Stories

  • Personal Memoirs – This website is a part of my legacy. I’ll put money in escrow to pay for the digital overhead of maintaining the hosting. Maybe there’s a discounted lifetime contract for people running their own devops. I’ll probably back it up to the Library of Alexandria in Congress for a future generation to read. I don’t expect anyone to read everything I’ve written, but I can at least live on through some words of advice. I try to do a yearly reflection of my personal achievements. It’s not a bad idea to write a summary for each decade of learning as well. Maybe a published book is a nice way to represent a milestone. My 20s was nicely summarized in My Life in Lists of 30.
  • Drawing Journal – I try to draw major current events in my drawing journal to memorialize my thoughts on them like a political cartoon. It’s been around 7 physical books since I started this routine in 2013 and I think they’ll be worth a book report at some point.
  • Recipes – I’ve written a lot of lists of 30s on my cooking challenges and general processes. Based on the latest trends in short attention span knowledge injection, I’ll probably make a tiktok 45-second video highlighting meals I’ve cooked. I’ll probably do a 30 day challenge on this.
  • Personalized Messages – I made a set of emails and digital identities for Evie to inherit. I’ve only sent a few emails to her on big occasions, but I think it’s a nice way to share my wisdom and to give her access to a number of messages for her. She’ll be old enough to appreciate it one day.
  • List of Memories – Off of a writing prompt of “I remember…” I’ve kept a personal list of memories I have with my loved ones. It’s always fun to update and gives me another anchor to remembering those special moments. I’ll send a summary to her email.
  • Culture and Tradition – Growing up, my parents were fairly loose on the Chinese traditions. The main ones were really around eating dinner at the dinner table together. We as a family want to celebrate quirky things like cooking together and building little snowmen. This is worth its own list of 30 home traditions.

Digital & Physical Things

  • Curated photos and videos – We take way too many photos and videos that I imagine will just get lost in the digital noise. I’ll be sure to make summaries and summaries of summaries, so future generations are not reliving my life, but spending time living their own.
  • Social Network Influence – I don’t want to go crazy here, but there is power in outreach. Just look at how 70% of misinformation was reduced when removing the former President from his social media accounts. A few gated reputations I’d consider:
    • Wikipedia – Being able to update this shared resource is huge. So many people rely on it to be accurate and it’d be a powerful reputation to help moderate.
    • Sub-reddits & Community Groups – Depending on your community, moderating these sub-reddit communities are very powerful in reaching out to your global base. I should probably make on for lists of 30s or within 30 day challenges.
    • YouTube subscribers – I consider YouTube one of the only long-lasting platforms for hosting and participation. I think the trolling has significantly decreased and it’s becoming a solid informative venue. YouTube short-form is also getting a lot of attention, so I may start there.
    • Podcast listeners – It’s not something you can easily search to see your following, but I do feel like it’s a very personable medium. Providing a platform someone can inherit could be powerful for storytelling.
    • Airbnb Reputation – If you’re renting out a piece of real estate on Airbnb, having a high review creates a cycle of recurring value. Platform-based reputation unlocks the value of the full network.
  • Published Content with Recurring Royalties – Stock photos, YouTube videos, Audiobooks, Kindle books, Music, or Apps all have platforms that can provide creators with passive income. A standing YouTube video only accumulates more views and builds additional influence. It’s definitely a competitive area, but passing on some of these digital assets could set up a new way to generate recurring revenue. It’s so important to build standing creations not just for the experience or salary, but because long lasting products generate a sustainable and compounding asset.
  • Real Estate – Most people invest in property because it has historically appreciated in value and also has the added benefit of being a possible new home. I still think this is a big overhead. Maybe if it’s fully managed through an end-to-end Airbnb network and it winds up being a passive income play with all mortgages paid.

Reputation

  • Community and Family – I invest in the well-being of my Web of Peeps. I’d like to be in a community of interesting people because inspiration is fairly random and I want to increase that probability. If nothing else on this list is passed on, I’d at least want her to be surrounded by love and resources.
  • Instrumental to <Movement/Adoption> – The only thing you can do is pay attention and keep an open mind to opportunities. Maybe it’s something in your 30 Communities and Roles or a calling for something bigger.
  • Creator of <Thing/Company/Product/Platform/Philosophy/Token> – Shortest path would be creating a token (yay Clemcoin). I’d probably create some life philosophy around Lists of 30 writing.

Sentiment

In passing, we summarize periods in our lives with overall feelings. My childhood was “good” vs “rough”. Some of these can be defined by clear memories and anecdotes that span maybe one story per year. At the end of the day, I just want her to say I was there and we spent time being awesome together.

  • Memories – There are the cliché ones like teaching her to ride a bike. I think traditions cover some of my favorite memories. I’d want a ritual to be passed on so she remembers me when she celebrates life.
  • Discipline – The methodology is more important. I want to teach her to do the hard things and be a good person.
  • Building a Foundation – I’ve thought about parenting outside of the standard school subjects. There’s a whole list of 30 covering these fundamental areas. I hope I cover at least some of these areas as we grow and learn together.
  • Perspective – I’m the same age as my parents were when they were raising me, and I thought they knew everything. It was new to them, just like retirement is now new to them. We’re not super heroes, but we’ll always be there for you.

An Empire?

I think about that moment in Breaking Bad in the final seasons when Walter clutches his money and says “This is all I have left.” I don’t know if I want that level of importance or stress. It’d be nice to keep things simple. I’d rather leave a feeling than a something.

What can I do now?

I highly recommend this exercise to consider what you’ll pass on and how it gets protected. I think I have time to build wealth in more ways than just money. These digital assets have recurring value and hopefully are more of a benefit than a burden. What I want to pass on is a methodology (learning how to learn) and a loving community (her network of trusted resources). Everything else is just “stuff”.

~See Lemons Pass on Wealth

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