There’s nothing like a single word sometimes to usher in a bit of mid-life crisis. In my case this happened when I finally got around to making a will. Made me want to go out and bungee jump or something.

I was going for the simplest will possible, since it’s a good thing to have in place but I didn’t have much to decide about. It’s one of those things like insurance or enduring powers of attorney – hard to get when you really need them, but easy to do at any other time.

Essentially all I needed to come up with were two executors to carry out my wishes, decide whether I wanted to be cremated or buried, and have two witnesses as I signed it. Peasy.

Then it came down to what lawyers, funnily enough, call “residue” in their lawyerspeak. Apparently this is the term they use for anything that we’re leaving behind and need to give special instructions for. Technically, residue refers to whatever assets of the estate remain after any debts or expenses are paid out.

“Residue”? I don’t know about you, but residue reminds me of the leftover soup sludge in a tin after you pour it out. Not the most uplifting image, to be sure.

This of course got me wondering, “What am I really leaving behind?” Sure, net worth is trending upward, building wealth for the long term, etc., but really – is that it?

Children and whānau come to mind, of course, but they have a way of stretching these questions even further – what could I possibly leave them so that their lives will be better? What will make the most difference?

Now I certainly can’t claim to have all the answers here – that’s way above my pay grade – and I suppose each of us needs to work these things out as we go.

Whatever we accomplish in this world, hopefully we’ll leave it better than we found it. And may there be much love and laughter along the way!

But it’s humbling to know that whatever we leave behind, it will all be just “residue” to my lawyer friends.

Speaking of lawyer friends, mine tells me that he gets a lot of people doing their wills before they go overseas. So the next time you’re about to travel, get yours done too!


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