Shawn Weera, President of the Law Offices of Shawn Weera, is an acclaimed estate planner recognized for his ability to design effective plans that give clients the ability to avoid probate, save on taxes, and protect assets. Recently the esteemed elder law attorney outlined the four essential components that every good estate strategy should include, explaining why each is crucial to efficiently managing the affairs of life’s later stages.
The basic component of every estate plan, Weera began, is a will, or a legally binding statement that directs how property will be distributed post-mortem, names a guardian for any minor children, and appoints an executor to carry out the details of the document. Without one, the state will determine how all assets are disbursed. However, many types of property or forms of ownership are not covered by wills, including jointly owned property, property in trust, life insurance proceeds, IRAs, and 401(k) plans. In these cases, Shawn Weera explained that a trust is necessary, which is a legal arrangement, through which the trustee holds title to possessions of the beneficiary and often results in tax advantages for both parties. When well drafted, trusts can be effective planning tools for generations of family members.
Apart from the will, the power of attorney, or person appointed to act in the event the document holder is incapacitated, is often the most important part of an estate plan, said Weera. Without a power of attorney, a court will have to appoint a conservator or guardian through a process that takes considerable time and money. This representative may then be forced to seek further court permission in order to enact planning steps that otherwise could have been implemented immediately. Medical directives also allow for more control in the event of a crisis or hospitalization. Depending on state laws and the individual’s goals, medical directives can vary, but often include a health care proxy, a living will, and medical instructions. These documents further clarify who is designated to make health care decisions and instruct doctors how to proceed in severe circumstances.
Attorney Shawn Weera, JD, MFP has assisted thousands of families in growing, preserving and protective their assets. He received a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from California State University, Los Angeles and a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys. As a licensed elder law counsel, Weera has been helping retirees with his efficient and astute planning for over 15 years. Presently, he offers strategic solutions to protect assets from nursing home and long-term care expenses, avoid probate and estate taxes, reduce taxes on income and social security, maximize returns on investments, and to help wartime veterans and their spouses receive special benefits to pay for in-home care.