Georgetown Estate Planning Lawyers

It can be uncomfortable to consider what happens to your property after you pass away, but establishing a solid estate plan can be a tremendous gift to your family members. You can ensure they have the financial support they need after you are gone and protect many assets from the probate process. A skilled Georgetown legacy and estate law attorney can guide you through making these decisions.

At Indigo Family Law, our Georgetown estate planning lawyers meet with you to discuss your circumstances and help you create a customized approach for your needs. No matter your age or health, we are dedicated to resolving your concerns about these important matters. 

Why You Should Choose Indigo Family Law to Plan Your Estate

Making the best decisions for your assets requires research, knowledge, and experience. Finding the time to figure out how the law works and how to put your plan together may be challenging if you have a job, home, and family to support. Putting these concerns in the hands of the team at Indigo Family Law can bring you peace of mind. 

You should work with experienced estate planners because they will:

  • Listen to your needs
  • Answer your questions
  • Prepare and file the paperwork
  • Communicate your estate plan’s progress
  • Update your plan to address important life events

Maintaining your estate plan is essential throughout your life. As you marry, divorce, have children, and buy or sell property, your will and other documents should reflect that. Our estate planning attorneys in Georgetown will ensure your plan is up to date. 

Begin With a Will to Distribute Your Assets

Your will is a document that states your wishes about your final arrangements, plans for your children and pets, and how you want your property to be distributed. Your assets will usually need to pass through probate, except in certain circumstances. You can also name a Personal Representative (PR), sometimes called an executor, who oversees the estate process.

If you die without a will (“intestate”), South Carolina intestacy laws will determine who receives your assets. According to these statutes, your spouse receives half your property and money unless you are both on the deed for your home. In that case, the home is transferred directly to your spouse in full. The remainder of your estate will be divided among your children. 

There are many nuances to intestacy laws that could cause issues for other heirs. The best course is to consult with a skilled estate planning attorney in Georgetown to ensure you have a will to describe your wishes. They will also guide your PR on handling the distribution after you are gone. 

Trusts Can Provide Financial Security for Children and Your Spouse

A trust can be used in conjunction with a will or as a standalone document. Trusts are considered separate legal entities that take control of your assets when you die and have established terms concerning asset distribution. As the grantor of your trust, your estate administration attorney helps you write the terms and name at least one trustee (the person administering the trust). You will also name beneficiaries (those who receive distributions). 

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts 

Trusts are typically used to protect assets from probate and provide financial stability for your loved ones after you die. A trust may be revocable or irrevocable. Revocable is when you can make changes to them while you are still living. Irrevocable trusts provide the greatest asset protection from creditors and taxes due to nuances regarding how changes can be made. Irrevocable trusts are not as flexible as revocable trusts. 

Living Trusts 

While a standard trust is created at the time of your death, a living trust is established before you pass to put assets in a protective legal entity. Your estate administration attorneys can create these trusts to provide financial support for a spouse who is diagnosed with dementia or a child with special needs. You move assets into the trust and are still able to make use of them before you pass away.

Other Important Components of a Strong Estate Plan

In addition to wills and trusts, there are other instruments that your estate planning services team may recommend. A durable power of attorney and an advance care plan can ensure your assets are protected in the event you are seriously injured or lose your mental capacity

Durable Power of Attorney 

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) names a person who will be given the authority to make financial and/or medical decisions if you are terminally ill, mentally incompetent, or temporarily incapacitated. For example, if you are so badly hurt in a car crash that you are in a coma for three months afterward, someone needs to manage your finances and make decisions about your care. If you recover, the DPOA is no longer in effect, and you return to managing your own affairs.

You are the “principal,” and the person you give authority to is your “agent.” In South Carolina a general Power of Attorney is Durable unless expressly stated that the agent’s power is revoked upon incapacity. If you wish to create a DPOA that only allows medical or only financial decisions, Title 62, Article 8 of the South Carolina Code of Laws allows this choice. Discuss these options with your estate planning lawyer.   

Advance Care Plan

An advance care plan designates a person who should make decisions about your medical care If you are severely injured or ill. This can include whether to perform life-saving procedures or continue to provide life-extending measures if there is little to no hope of recovery. Your advance care plan lets you state your wishes to guide your family during this difficult time.

In Georgetown, SC, you can file a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) or a Living Will. The HPOA allows your agent to advise your doctors if you are temporarily unable. It does not provide any power to make financial choices. The Living Will, also called a Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death, only applies to situations in which the outcome appears terminal, and it is not expected that you will survive.

Get Started With Our Georgetown Estate Administration Lawyers Today

An estate administration lawyer can compassionately assess your situation and help you prepare the right set of documents for your needs. You can give your family a gift when you take the time to write down your wishes and establish a plan to guide them when you pass away. Do not leave anything to chance. 

Indigo Family Law is here to help you get started. Schedule your consultation with our Georgetown estate planning lawyers today.