Gaining experience in financial services and business consulting for over two decades, Shawn Weera has developed basic guidelines for estate planning for all individuals.
Most people think that estate planning is meant for only wealthy individuals. But that is very wrong. No matter how much you have, you will have to put into consideration what happens to your assets after you pass away and who should receive the things you own after you have passed.
Having an estate plan might be as simple as having a will, naming someone to benefit from your 401(k). It can even be as complex as setting up trust funds for different purposes in addition to your will. No matter which one you decide to do, Shawn Weera will work with you every step of the way. Knowing the importance of estate planning, he provides some basic guidelines ahead of time to ensure his clients are well prepared for their financial futures and the financial futures of their families and loved ones.
What is an Estate Plan?
Planning an estate is the process of orderly administrating and properly disposing of the properties of an individual after the said individual is no more. While planning your estate, Shawn Weera recommends putting the following goals into consideration:
- Clarity of your wishes.
- Legal guardian for your children that you trust and approve of.
- Protecting your loved ones by making sure that they receive your assets.
- Eliminate or avoid conflicts between members of your family.
- Reduce taxes and legal expenses that are associated with your properties.
- Preserve wealth for the intended beneficiaries.
Your assets will be shared by the state if you die without an estate planned. Estate planning is even more important if you have done either one of the following; cohabitate with your partner, you have been married more than once and/or you have children. If you have children from a previous marriage, your estate planning is even more important, as your current spouse may not be inclined to share your estate with them. The planned estate will make it mandatory for the spouse to share the assets with your children.
Estate Planning Terms You Should Know
Before you plan your estate, there are some estate planning terms that you should get used to and become familiar with.
- Estate: Your estate includes all the properties that you own before your death. It includes those properties and assets that will be shared after you are no more and it can only be done according to your will if you plan your estate while you are still alive.
- Property: There are two types of properties. The first type is the properties which include lands and other structural buildings. The second type is personal properties and they include things like gadgets, automobiles, accessories, household items, bank accounts, securities, insurance policies, cash, patents and so much more.
- Grantor: The grantor is the individual (in this case you) who is transferring his or her assets to someone else (or an organization) under a will or trust that was initially established.
- Beneficiary: This is usually the person or organization that inherits a property/properties from the grantor. Note that there can be more than one beneficiary.
- Trustee: This is an individual that is assigned to take care of a certain property/properties before transferring it to the beneficiary. The Trustee will act in the best interest of the beneficiary at all times.
- Probate: This is a process whereby the state takes it upon itself to find the heirs to your properties and find out just how much each of them is entitled to. However, not all properties are subject to probate. The ones that are subject to it has to go through the process which is quite expensive and takes time.
- Estate Transfer: When the interest of a property is transferred to another person, it is called estate transfer. The event might occur during the lifetime of the grantor or after. If it is during the lifetime of the individual, it can be transferred in the form of a gift or sometimes as a sale.
Shawn Weera has commonly worked with the following people who need estate planning:
- An individual who owns property alone.
- An individual who has assets in several states.
- A person who has people depending on him or her.
- Owner of a small business.
- An individual who can’t handle his/her affairs prior to their death.
- A person who wishes to transfer his/her wealth to another.
- An individual who has assets that are subject to tax and wishes to reduce the tax involved by transferring those assets to someone else.
From the list above, this implies that virtually everyone needs estate planning and the sooner it is done, the better. For more information on these and other financial services, be sure to contact Shawn Weera today!