Conway Estate Planning Lawyers

Considering what happens after death is an age-old problem. Although you may be certain where your spirit will go, you may not have a solid plan for the things you will leave behind for your family. Putting your affairs in order before it is too late can be one of the kindest and most loving things you do for your survivors. 

At Indigo Family Law, our Conway estate planning lawyers will treat your situation with compassion and skill. We offer free initial consultations so we can educate you about legacy and estate law to put together the right plan for your needs. From establishing a will to end-of-life care guidance, our team can put your fears to rest. 

How Indigo Family Law Helps You Plan Your Estate

No matter how much they own, everyone can benefit from preparing a structured plan to address how their final affairs are handled. However, because many people are uncomfortable with these matters, they avoid it until it is too late. We are devoted to making these conversations easier to face for each of our clients so you and your family are ready well ahead of your demise.

We offer support for every decision by:

  • Answering your questions: We present a basic outline of how estate planning works, then answer all your questions on how to best protect your assets. 


  • Managing the paperwork: When you meet with us, we get a firm understanding of your choices and then handle the details from there. We save you the trouble of completing forms and filing legal petitions. 


  • Putting you at ease: We explain what can happen to your assets after you pass to help you make the best choices for your needs. Our attorneys focus on relieving your concerns so you know your loved ones’ interests are protected.


  • Maintaining your plans: Our attorneys establish a strong relationship with our clients, so we can keep up with the changes in your life. When you buy a home or welcome a new family member, your estate plans should be updated. We can assist you throughout the years as your needs develop.

Your estate planning lawyer will review all your assets and help you consider all your potential options. 

Everyone Needs an Estate Plan  

Many people mistakenly believe they are “not rich enough” to benefit from the guidance of a legacy planning lawyer. However, everyone deserves the chance to decide what happens to what they own so that it benefits their loved ones. 

Along with leaving your property behind, you can also establish what happens if you become unable to make your own medical decisions. Estate planning simply means creating a detailed plan so that your final wishes are clearly spelled out and legally binding. How much you own is less important than how well you protect it for those you leave behind. 

For example, suppose you are about to divorce an abusive spouse but pass away unexpectedly before you can file the papers. Without a will, South Carolina will give half of your estate to the spouse and split the rest among your children. If you fail to create a will or trust, you leave your family at the mercy of state laws.  

Understanding the Difference Between Wills and Trusts

Most people are familiar with the idea of a will, but few understand the value of using a trust instead. What works best in a specific situation depends on many factors. Some individuals simply wish to have the final say in who gets what. Others may have substantial assets to distribute. Our estate planning lawyers can help you determine whether a will, a trust, or a combination is best for you. 


A will is a legal document expressing your wishes concerning property distribution, final burial, and funeral arrangements, or plans for the care of your children or pets. Essentially, any specific desires you want your family to follow after you pass away can be put into your will. 

If you do not have a will when you die (called “intestate”), then South Carolina intestacy laws will take effect. Half your property will go to your spouse and the rest to your children. If you have neither, your assets will be left to your parents. Without a clear description of how you wish things to be distributed, your children or other dependents could be left without sufficient support.

Wills also make matters much easier for your grieving loved ones. If you have outlined what you want, they do not have to make life-altering decisions during such an emotional time. It is one of the last gifts you can give your family to help them through their burden. Using a will can also establish access to your financial accounts and properties so that your personal representative can set everything right quickly. 

Trusts For Kids

Trusts are used to designate the distribution of money or other assets to individuals. This can be minor children, adults, or even legal entities. Funds can be given out over a period of time, at certain ages, or in a single sum at any time. 

For example, you could leave your home in a trust designed to give your children full ownership when they reach the age of 25. Other trusts could make payouts of inheritance funds between the ages of 18 and 30 or throughout the inheritor’s lifetime.

Establishing a trust involves writing down the terms and funding the trust with money or assets. You must also choose a trustee who will oversee the trust administration. Trusts are more complicated than wills, involving the distribution of assets for many years after the person has passed away, or even while they are still alive. 

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts 

Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. When you wish to maintain ownership of the assets throughout your life and be able to change your mind about who receives them, you may choose a revocable trust. A revocable trust is the functional equivalent of a will in determining how assets are distributed.

An irrevocable trust takes ownership of your assets and is binding for life. This is valuable for protecting property, but it can make selling or buying assets more complicated. To fully understand how an irrevocable trust could benefit your estate, contact our legacy planning lawyers for more guidance. 

Living Trusts 

A living trust can take effect before your death if you desire. It allows you to transfer assets from your ownership to the beneficiaries of the trust. You can still make use of the properties or funds during your lifetime, then transfer them to others when you are ready. This can assist your estate in avoiding certain taxes and probate when you pass away.  Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable.

What Your Estate Plan Contains Will Depend on Your Unique Circumstances

Every estate plan is different and built on the individual needs of the person for whom it is written. Regardless of how much you own, you may have the same components as another person with much more than you. What is important is that your legacy planning attorney builds tools that meet your needs and can be adjusted as your life changes. 

In addition to wills and trusts, you may benefit from two additional items: the Durable Power of Attorney and the Advance Care Plan. 

Power of Attorney 

A Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to hand over the power to make critical financial decisions to someone you trust. This is meant for when you are terminally ill or mentally incompetent and cannot make choices for yourself. You are known as the “principal,” and the person you choose is the “agent.” 

Under Title 62, Article 8 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it is possible to grant a POA that only addresses financial decisions, according to your needs. Your estate planning attorney can explain how this document can best serve your interests.   

Advance Care Plan

If you are severely injured or ill, you may be unable to make decisions regarding your care in the moment. Your family may or may not know your wishes, and precious time can be lost deciding what to do. With an advanced care plan, you can consider when you would want the doctors to perform life-saving measures and when you would prefer to pass peacefully. 

In South Carolina, there are two documents you can file. The first is the Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA), giving an agent the ability to make decisions about your care in the event you are unable. The second is the Living Will, also known as a Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death. The Living Will only addresses situations where you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

The HPOA is more comprehensive and allows your agent to make choices in all medical situations. Some people choose a Living Will instead of an HPOA as a lesser measure to only apply in instances where it does not appear they will live.  

Potential Probate Assets for Your Estate 

Probate or estate law is written to govern how assets are moved from one owner to another after death. This structure ensures that assets lawfully pass to the desired individuals so they retain full ownership. There are many kinds of assets that should be considered when planning your estate:

  • Stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts
  • Bank accounts, including checking, saving, and money market
  • Cash
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Vehicles, such as cars, trucks, boats, or planes
  • Farm equipment
  • Businesses
  • Real estate
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts or pension funds

A skilled probate attorney can assess your properties and other holdings to determine the best estate instruments for you. At Indigo Family Law, we have managed estates of all sizes and are committed to finding the right combination of documents for your needs.

The Probate Process Can Be Complicated and Stressful

In Conway and the rest of South Carolina, probate is legally required for nearly all estates after someone dies. There are multiple steps in the process that often add to your family’s stress and frustration while managing their grief. Establishing an estate plan ahead of time can take some of this burden off their shoulders. 

The process involves the following:

  • Appointing a Personal Representative: Your Personal Representative is usually designated in your will. If you are intestate, this job may fall to your spouse or next of kin. A PR is often called an executor.
  • Opening probate: South Carolina probate is supervised by the family court. Your PR must file the required documentation to establish your probate case so it can be managed correctly. 
  • Notifying the public: The PR must publish a notice in relevant newspapers announcing your death to allow anyone with a claim against your estate to submit it. 
  • Notifying creditors: The PR should notify any creditors (mortgage lenders, credit card companies, etc.) of your passing and establish a method for settling any debts.
  • Notifying government agencies: Your PR must inform the Social Security Administration so your beneficiaries can begin receiving any benefits.
  • Preparing assets: Assets must be valued at the beginning and end of the probate process so that any relevant taxes can be paid. 
  • Calculating debts: Your PR must calculate your liabilities against your assets and pay any outstanding debts before distribution.
  • Managing assets during probate: The PR handles selling properties or using funds to settle the estate’s liabilities. They are also responsible for maintaining properties, such as paying utility bills and property taxes.
  • Distributing assets: Once debts are paid, the PR can begin distributing the assets according to the decedent’s wishes.
  • Closing the estate: The PR files a tax return for the estate and files the closure documents for the estate. 

The entire process takes between eight months and one year to complete. If you have prepared a will or put your properties into a trust before your death, much of the probate process can be avoided. Our probate lawyers can explain how these laws and steps apply to your specific situation when you meet with us. 

Meet With Our Conway Estate Planning Lawyers Today

Do not leave your loved ones with more trouble and grief when you pass away. Take the time today to contact us and begin planning their future without you when you meet with our Conway estate planning lawyers. 

The caring team at Indigo Family Law is ready to help you prepare all the necessary documents and ensure everything is legally settled. Schedule your consultation today.