BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West


How My Life Could Be Different

Let's assume we go back to the day I was born and make some changes.

Now, my grandparents had about 10 million in assets in 2007 as we were told my the previous trustee.  When he came off as trustee there was about 4.

He used trust money to defend the trust and stay on as trustee, so he was using our own money against us to keep himself on as trustee and pay himself a management fee.

I would argue at least 2 million was lost to legal fees alone from 2007 onward.

Additionally my great grandmother had 5 million when she passed in 2002.  Now, the previous trustee used my grandfathers money to fight the other side of the family that took most of her money.  There actually should have been more money because I know for a fact that before the dot com bubble she had at least 15 million.

So that money was probably not invested right.

But let's assume that we walk with the 5 and the 10 million in 2002 and 2007.

SO let's assume there was no previous trustee.

Let's also assume that my mom never moved me from California.

Let's also assume that money gets divided equal parts in my own family members, there are 6 of us.  Now 5 because my mom passed.

Now let's assume I live in LA.

This places me at getting my first 800k in 2002 at 20 years old living in LA.

I then use that 800k from my great grandmother to start my music an acting career at 20.  I invest that money and let dividends come off that money.  If you had invested 800k of money (that's 5 million split 6 ways, it's a rough estimate, there's taxes and whatever and I didn't do the actual math but it's close enough).  Even if I never make it anywhere in music or acting... I still have 3 to 5 percent of 800k in dividends coming in, I also have capital gains.  800k invested in 2002 would have grown pretty nicely.

Then 7 years later at 27 I get 1/6th of 10 million.  SO, that's another 1.2 million or something.

Now I have close to 2 million to fall back on... But I've also been working at my music and acting now for 7 years.

Could I be someone famous in hollywood right now?  I could be.  We'll never know because of my grandfather's friend who basically mucked it all up.

So instead where are we now?

Instead I live in Philly... I've spent 11 years working IT... I chased a girl I never got for many years and she now lives in Florida.  The trustee who mucked things up also lives in Florida...

So I have an ex trustee and an ex romantic interest who both live in Florida.  The trust is in LA.

There should't even be a trust at the moment actually because my grandfather's original wishes were for it to terminate at 30 years... But the previous trustee's plan was to make the trust go until we were 50 so he could mooch off the trust in fees that he charged as management fees.  But the court didn't throw that out because the doctor mysteriously refused to testify any further when asked about my grandfather's condition.

It's a whole thing.  Nearly 10 years in the courts.

I still make some time for music but it's very little.  I started writing books... I took a handful of acting class things improv and other stuff.

But here's my thing... Maybe I'm here where I am because the other path in life would have lead to something worse?  Maybe I would have ended up in some other situation that would have been worse.

Or maybe being a famous actor or musician just wasn't where I was meant to be.

Who knows really.

So, what I know is here I'm.  I'm not poor by any means.  Yes if all that money would have been invested properly and none of it lost to the various things it was lost to... My great grandmother's thing was that her husband who lived longer than her was supposed to sign a document not taking half of her share.

So then his kids took half of her money even though he had his own 10 million himself.

That means my grandfather and his brother and another step sibling each got 2.5 million to share between them.  But the previous trustee used my grandfather's share to appeal and file court decisions to try and get the other 2.5 million back.

So most of that money was lost after a few years of wasted court money and legal money.

Well anyways... SO here I am.  My goal now is to get back to making as much music as I can.  To use what I have left to just live my life as is and hopefully try to build things back up.

What I find interesting is simply the order of things.

If my great grandmother had outlived her husband... That issue with half her money being taken by her husband's children, or her step children (she remarried in her 60s and died in her 90s) wouldn't have been an issue.

If my grandmom had outlived my grandfather she probably would have moved back to the east coast to be closer to us.

See my grandmom passed in 2001.  That's when my grandfather's friend moved in on the cash and started getting my grandfather to sign papers.  So here's a grieving man... Who was married for 50+ years... just lost his wife, and 2 weeks after she passed away, the first document is signed giving his friend sole power of attorney over everything.

Then shortly thereafter... He's made trustee of my grandfather's survivor trust and my grandmother's stuff.  And he's then made trustee of my mom and her sister's stuff, then our stuff.

Then he goes after my grandfather's mother's stuff as soon as she passed in 2002.

But if my great grandmother had lived longer than my great grandfather... And my grandmother had lived longer than my grandfather...

Theoretically there would be 15 million there, and let's assume it was never split up between the 6 heirs... If you had invested 15 million in 2007 lets say my grandmom passed then...

The general rule of doubling is that money doubles in investing every 7 ish years...

Today?  We'd have about 30 million.

The order of things changes so many things.  If my grandmom and great grandmom had outlived my grandfather and great grandfather...

My life would be significantly different.  I could have moved BACK to LA, or NYC... I could be a famous musician or actor right now instead of an IT person.

But maybe fame wasn't the path I was meant to take.  It sounds glamorous... But maybe something really bad would have happened from all of that.

It's still not all bad... I still have 1-2 million in a trust in LA.  And assuming the rule of doubling... By the time I turn 50 and the trust is cashed out in 16 years... I should have a pretty nice nest egg to then carry me through into my golden years.

Maybe I'll be one of those actors that didn't come on the scene until I was up there in years.  Or I'll really get cracking on these books and become an accomplished writer in my 40s.

Or I could use what happened to me with my trust to advise others with wealth so that they don't have the same situation when they go to pass money to their heirs.

I guess only time will tell where we go from here.

Maybe I could have had a different life... But my past has brought me here to this point, so... I gotta take things how they are and make the best with them!

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