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Estate Planning With an Abundance Mindset


The estate planning advice that is most visible to Google is geared toward people who are much wealthier than you will ever be.  The amount of money you would have to give away before maxing out your annual gift tax exclusion eligibility, and the amount of money that would still have to be in your possession when you die for you to become responsible for paying federal estate tax are millions more than have passed through your bank accounts in your entire life.  Estate planning is not just for wealthy people, though.  No matter how much or how little money you have, you should make estate planning decisions that help you prevent financial uncertainty in your old age and avoid inciting conflict among your family members during your final illness and during the probate of your estate.  Your account balances may be greater than or less than someone else’s, but whether you consider the amount of money you have a lot or enough is more subjective.  A Washington, D.C. estate planning lawyer can help you build an estate plan that enables you to bring the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest number of people with the resources you have.

The Miser’s Estate Plan

Some people approach estate planning out of a desire to keep money and decision-making power out of the hands of other entities.  For example, they might set up trusts because they don’t want a probate court to have a say in how their designated representatives use their assets.  They might also include a provision in their trust, whether it is a revocable trust or a testamentary trust, that gives the beneficiaries little to no control over what they do with the money they receive from the trust.  Sometimes it is wise to do these things if you have a reasonable fear that your surviving family members will be impoverished if you don’t, but if you are just doing it so that you can be the one in control, you will eventually have to accept that it is impossible to micromanage from beyond the grave.

Thinking Beyond Money

A scarcity mindset is when you make decisions based on the assumption that resources are limited and you must apportion the resources you have.  By contrast, an abundance mindset is where you set goals first and find ways to pursue them with the resources you have second.  If the balance in your savings account when you retire is X, it makes sense to buy a hybrid life insurance policy, because whether it pays for your long-term care, a payout to a surviving relative, or both, it costs a lot less than if you had paid the sticker price for either of those things.  With an abundance mindset, you should also assume that your family does not need or want to inherit any money from you, and that they will just be relieved not to have to guess what your wishes are regarding your care and your estate.

Contact Tobin O’Connor Ewing About Estate Planning

A Washington, D.C. estate planning attorney can help you adopt an abundance mindset about your estate plan.  Contact Tobin, O’Connor, and Ewing in Washington, D.C. or call 202-362-5900.



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