Every human culture has its unique myths and legends that express that culture’s character and values. Scholars from Carl Jung to Joseph Campbell have studied the myths of cultures throughout the world and across the centuries and have discerned in them recurring themes that represent fundamental patterns of human interaction. Many of these themes involve the stewardship of family wealth and status in difficult times, such as during absence or incapacity, on the occasion of marriage, and at death. This recurrence shows that concern about the protection of family property is a universal human trait. As mythical protagonists struggle to manage and pass on their wealth, they must frequently obtain counsel from loyal advisors. This article examines certain well-known myths, discusses the estate planning issues they raise, and considers what advice modern advisors might have given in today’s world.

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