Probate in South Carolina is the legal process of finalizing a person’s affairs after their death. Estate planning can make the probate process easier for family members and loved ones. However, many people assume that estate planning is too complicated. We want to dispel that assumption. For many people, just three forms can make probate in South Carolina easier and less costly.
Three Probate Forms Everyone Needs
Estate planning is for everyone. It benefits single people and couples. Estate planning benefits parents and people without children.
Some individuals may need comprehensive estate planning to reduce tax liability and protect high-value assets from creditors. However, many people can accomplish their estate planning goals with just three probate forms.
Three estate forms that can protect your family and make probate in South Carolina easier are:
1. Last Will and Testament
A will is the essential estate planning document that everyone needs. If you do not have a will, the state’s intestate laws decide who receives your property after your death. Intestate laws do not allow charities, friends, or extended family members to inherit from your estate.
You can dictate how your property is distributed by drafting a simple will. Because you name the person who serves as your personal representative, you have someone you trust to manage your estate and distribute your assets. You are in control instead of the state.
Wills are also useful for parents of young children. Parents can set up a testamentary trust within the will. They choose a trustee to manage their children’s inheritances until they reach a specific age. Without a testamentary trust, the court chooses a trustee, and your children receive their full inheritance when they turn 18 years of age, even if they are still in high school.
2. Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney
If you cannot make medical decisions for yourself, you want someone you trust to have that power. A health care power of attorney names a person to make health care decisions for you. A Living Will names a person to enforce end-of-life decisions for you.
It can be difficult for family members to make decisions in a crisis. Family members may not be able to withhold life-prolonging care. Some family members may argue about the healthcare decisions.
By appointing one trusted person to carry out your wishes, you can avoid arguments between family members. You can also ensure that someone will fight to enforce your decisions regarding treatments and care.
3. General Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives another person you choose the authority to make financial decisions for you. The person can perform any financial transactions you could perform unless you restrict the powers within the document.
The “durable” section of a power of attorney means that the powers granted in the document remain in full force and effect even if you become incapacitated. Your power of attorney can continue to manage your financial affairs for you to protect your best interests and property.
A durable power of attorney avoids the necessity of going through the probate court to appoint a conservator. A conservator is a court-appointed agent who handles your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. If you petition the court for a conservator, the court monitors the conservator and requires annual reports to review.
Call Our Myrtle Beach Probate Lawyers to Discuss Probate in South Carolina
It is never too early to plan for your estate. Estate planning covers much more than your death. You can incorporate retirement planning, wealth protection, and incapacitation planning into your estate plan.
Call our office now to schedule your free consultation with a Myrtle Beach probate attorney.