Until he retired when I was almost 13, John Wooden was the “Wizzard of Westwood” to me. My father had me watching UCLA basketball from my earliest days.
During my teens and twenties, there were two legendary college basketball coaches, Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina and Bobby Knight of Indiana University. Dean Smith died earlier this year and it was recently learned that he left his former players a gift – $200 to each of them to be used for a dinner on him.
Many of Dean Smith’s former players are very successful. For example, some reports have Michael Jordan worth a billion dollars or so. So the gift was not about the money – rather it was symbolic. Dean Smith was giving one last gift to the people who had made a commitment to play for him.
More than that, I would contend, it was a last lesson that Coach Smith imparted to his players in that many of them will contemplate on how to be a good man, husband, father, friend, and leader. I have seen interviews from his players who indicate that he imparted to them a lot more than just great basketball coaching. He taught them about life.
I have prepared thousands of trusts and wills. As the scrivener, I love it when I see my clients singling out individuals that have made a positive impression on them. It is not the size of the gift, it is the fact that the individual is being remembered. It is the thought that counts. Coach Smith reminded me of this.
It is something that we should all keep in mind when doing our living trust and wills. Think in our lives. Are there people that we can acknowledge for what they mean to us? If so, a bequest in a will or a living trust is certainly one way to let them know what they meant to you.
Estate Planning and Probate Attorney, Manhattan Beach Local, Sports Enthusiast