George H.W. Bush (1924-2018) 41st President of the United States, 1989-1993
In the words of President Harry Truman and President Ronald Reagan, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” President George H.W. Bush embodied these words. In his early life, H.W. became one of the youngest aviators in the Navy, graduated from Yale University, and reached millionaire status all before the age of 40. As the President of the United States, H.W. made significant political contributions. He aided in the development of Foreign Policy, resolution of the war in Iraq, the war on drugs, the downfall of the USSR, and the unification of Germany. All the while, H.W. remained prudent. He was a man known for his modesty and was not afraid to humble himself and work with others to find the best solution for his country.
After H.W. left office, he began to lead a relatively quiet life in Houston Texas. He worked on the George Bush Presidential Library, located on the Texas A&M University Campus (Whoop!) He also enjoyed retirement with his teenage sweetheart and loving wife, Barbara Bush. The couple shared 73 years of joy-filled marriage. They overcame the adversities of a war, the loss of a child, and the demanding political spotlight. H.W. wrote, “I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.” Even in death, their love story persisted. Barbara died in April of 2018, and H.W. passed on just under 8 months later. When couples pass in such a short time span it is often attributed to Broken Heart Syndrome. Whatever the cause, despite the short time period between the partners passing, the Bush family did an excellent job planning their estate.
In line with H.W.’s reserved demeanor, the Bush trust has protected their financial legacy from the public eye. The little that is known includes, H.W.’s estimated net worth of $25 million and the value of their family estate, the Kennebunkport house, assessed at $13 million, which was left out of the trust to protect the tax exemption. It appears that H.W. brought the same due diligence to Estate Planning as he did to being the commander and chief.
Due in part to the well safeguarded Bush trust, H.W.’s humanitarian work also remains an enigma. His family and those who knew him well in Houston all tell the story of an altruistic philanthropist who never sought flattery. Confirmation of this belief came when it was revealed that H.W. had secretly sponsored a boy in the Philippines through Compassion International for ten years. H.W. wrote to the boy regularly under the pseudonym, George Walker. Not even H.W.’s family was aware of the relationship. When we hear stories likes these, even the biggest skeptic’s heart softens. Indeed, whether as a president, husband, father, or citizen of the United States, H.W. possessed a soft spoken dignity that will be remembered for years to come.
Champ or Chump?
Despite his most public role as president of the United States, H.W.’s life and legacy is denoted by his modesty. Yet, the score of his political contributions and the emerging untold stories of his philanthropy provide us with an idea of what a champ H.W. truly was. Not to mention the triumphant execution of his trust. We honor President George H.W. Bush for his contributions to our country and his success in managing his estate. If you would like to learn more about preserving your own legacy, contact the Mendel Law Firm, L.P., for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.