Power of Positive Thinking through Estate Planning
Many scientific studies have established that there is a wide range of benefits flowing from positive thinking. At a time when many are focused on worst-case scenarios and gloomy predictions, you can resist the pull of negativity and embrace the beneficial results of positivity. This is not just an attempt to make yourself feel better in spite of reality, but rather to take full advantage of the proven benefits of positivity. You can increase not only your own well being but also that of your children or other beneficiaries by creating an estate plan designed to promote their happiness, which in turn, will enable them to live healthier and more successful lives. Fortunately, if you are someone for whom it does not come naturally, positive thinking can be learned by surrounding yourself with positive people, deliberately engaging in positive self-talk, and living a healthy lifestyle, just to name a few common methods.
Health Benefits of Positivity- Even During a Pandemic
According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking has a multitude of health benefits, including an increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, more psychological and physical well-being, better cardiovascular health and less risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills. Happiness, a byproduct of a positive attitude, has repeatedly been shown to boost the immune system, with studies showing that happy people who were exposed to illnesses were less likely to become sick or had milder symptoms than others who were less happy.
Those who tend to be more optimistic are more likely to establish clear life goals, focus on different ways to reach their goals, and believe that their goals will become a reality.
Impact of Positivity on Success
Dr. Martin Seligman, a well-known researcher in the field of psychology, has found that those who are happy and satisfied with their lives are more likely to have desirable outcomes in school, work, social relationships, health, and life in general. Negative emotions narrow our perspective, driving us toward a single, instinctive action (reacting to danger) while ignoring everything else around us. In contrast, positive emotions are accompanied by a broadened perspective that allows us to see and examine a variety of options and then choose the one we believe is best for that moment.
Those who tend to be more optimistic are more likely to establish clear life goals, focus on different ways to reach their goals, and believe that their goals will become a reality. Hopeful people view negative events as temporary setbacks or isolated unfortunate events. As a result, they are more resilient and able to handle challenges and view them as learning experiences. They have confidence that they can take action to improve their lives, and thus, are more likely to do just that.
An even better course of action, however, would be to meet with a financial planner who can help you create a budget enabling you to decrease or eliminate your debt so that your loved ones will receive all the money and property you would like them to have. We are happy to recommend a trusted professional if you are not already working with one.
Use Your Estate Plan to Create Positivity through Legacy Letters
Rather than focusing primarily on negative goals, such as preventing a spendthrift child from wasting his or her inheritance, view your estate planning as a way to pass along a positive legacy. One method is to create an ethical will or legacy letter that shares your important values, religious beliefs, life lessons, and blessings with your family members. A legacy letter, which could be in written or video form, is something that could be shared during your lifetime as a way of drawing family members closer together, or it could be one of the most meaningful gifts you leave for family members when you pass away. The positive emotions that come from the enhanced relationship and knowledge that they are loved could be a powerful catalyst that increases the well being of your family.
In addition, you can provide funds for activities that create positive experiences for your beneficiaries, ultimately enhancing their well being. Although providing financial security for family members and loved ones is clearly a positive goal, rather than simply thinking of your wealth as a way for your children or loved ones to acquire more “stuff”, you can be more deliberate and thoughtful about your estate planning, setting aside money for meaningful experiences, e.g., family trips, schooling, or volunteer activities, that will allow your beneficiaries to flourish and develop their strengths and interests. In fact, research shows that experiential gifts (gifts of events that recipients experience) result in a stronger relationship between the giver and the gift recipient than material gifts, even if the gift giver does not experience the event with the recipient. The improvement in the relationship is the result of the positive emotions that are experienced while the recipient is experiencing the gift. These positive emotions also can ultimately increase their physical and mental well being and likelihood of success in life.
Let Us Help You Achieve a Positive Goal
During this time of crisis, a positive attitude is more important than ever. We can help you think through and identify the ways you can incorporate positivity into your estate planning, which will provide you with the confidence and peace of knowing that you are not only providing your family with financial security, but also that you are leaving a positive legacy that will promote your loved ones’ physical, emotional, and spiritual well being and future success. Please call us today to schedule a meeting so we can discuss how you can best achieve your positive estate planning goals. We are happy to meet with you in a private Zoom Video Conference or over the phone.
If you know someone who needs to do estate planning, please pass on this newsletter. San Clemente Estate Law also offers free estate planning webinars. Call us to save your seat at (949) 420-0025.
Ocean Estate Law
Jennifer Elliott, Attorney at Law
Jennifer Elliott, Attorney at Law is an estate planning and probate lawyer located in San Clemente and Laguna Hills. The firm, Ocean Estate Law, provides probate services for decedent's estates in Orange County and San Bernardino County as well as estate planning to clients throughout California.
Call Us As Soon As Possible
Although you can take care of many of these initial concerns on your own, the administration of your loved one’s estate or trust can be quite complex. Even small mistakes could end up being a major headache. It is important to contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you with probate or trust settlement and/or administration, as well as any other legal matters that may arise during this difficult and emotional time. Our goal is to provide you with peace of mind by guiding you through the administration and settlement of your family member’s trust or estate, so please call us as soon as you can.