Probate Administration deals with handling the estate of a person after he or she has passed away. When one does not have a will, State law provides who and how the property gets divided. So, having a Will allows you control over who gets your property upon your death. Good estate planning helps you transfer your assets as you desire and can also help avoid or limit estate tax imposed upon your property at death.
In South Carolina, you must be 18 years of age and be competent (basically know your assets and who you desire to have them) to execute a Will. To be valid, the Will requires two witnesses who must either see the Will signed or the Testator (the one executing the Will) must affirm to them that he or she signed the Will. A Will should be kept in a safe place where it can be retrieved upon death. Certainly, the executed Will should not be left lying around for prying eyes to view and/or unscrupulously hands that would seek to destroy the Will in an effort to gain. No doubt, a safety deposit drawer at your bank is a good and safe place for repositing of the Will.
Whereas a Will provides for the disposition of property upon one’s death, a Trust removes property from the ownership of the settler (initiator of the Trust) and gives ownership to a Trustee, who is given the task of managing the property according to the Trust documents. A Trust can be used to maintain anonymity and privacy because Trust documents are not filed at the courthouse. Use of a Trust in estate planning can provide shelter to assets from taxation. Trusts can also be used for asset protection, charitable donations and for healthcare needs.
Reluctantly, we all fail in health at some time, and good estate planning helps you to be prepared in the event of injury, illness or mental health condition that keeps you from handling your own personal or financial affairs and/or healthcare decisions. A Health Care Power of Attorney lets you empower a trusted friend or loved one to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. A Living Will, otherwise known as a “Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death” gives your doctors direction as to whether you want to have or refuse to have nutrition or hydration in your last hours. A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to empower a trusted friend and/or loved one to sign checks and perform other financial acts on your behalf if you are unable to.
Good sources of information can be found at the following websites:
Elder Law on Probate: https://probate.laws.com/probate
Elder Law on Trusts: http://elder-law.laws.com/trusts
Elder Law on Wills: https://elder-law.laws.com/will
NOLO – Law For All: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wills-trusts-estates/
Elder Law Answers For SC: https://www.care.com/c/stories/5505/south-carolina-elder-law-and-legal-resources/
We handle all from:
- Wills/Trusts/Estate Planning & Drafting
- Probate, Estate & Trust Administration
- Healthcare Directives: Health Care Power of Attorney & Living Will
- Powers of Attorney: Specific & Durable Powers of Attorney
If you need a will or a trust drafted, or any of the other documents mentioned above, or if you have recently had a loved one pass away and need help and guidance with the arduous task of probate administration…
Please call The Hanson Law Firm (803) 798-9446