Estate Planning Services in Summerville
Professional & Compassionate Legal Services in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties
PMC Law Firm has the highly skilled estate planning attorneys you need to make sure all of the assets you want your family to inherit can be successfully transferred after you pass away. If you own any property or have wealth that needs to be protected, then you need to take the time to draft a thorough estate plan that accounts for all of your financial and health interests to ensure your wishes are carried out during and after your life.
What Does Estate Planning Involve?
The estate planning process involves discussing your finances and health information with a legal professional to identify the goals and concerns that you have regarding your estate. When you come to PMC Law Firm for your estate planning needs, our legal advisors will get to know you and ask detailed questions about your assets and how they are owned, as well as your family structure and which beneficiaries you want to inherit property or manage your affairs if you suddenly pass away or become incapacitated.
Some of the important matters we will discuss during your estate planning consultation include:
- How to properly prepare for incapacity and other emergency situations
- Strategies for avoiding probate
- How to properly title your property to maximize available tax benefits and avoid costly delays
- Tips for providing and distributing funds for minor children
- Estate planning tools for non-traditional and blended families
Once we have developed a plan that addresses your goals and concerns, we will start drafting documents to implement your plan, including the following:
- Last Will & Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Advance Medical Directive
- Beneficiary Designations
- Business Succession Plan
- Living Trust
- Revocable Living Trust
FAQ: Estate Planning
The following are questions our attorneys are commonly asked about estate planning:
Question #1: What happens if I die without a will?
A: If you die without a valid will, then your assets and property will be distributed in accordance with South Carolina law. This means that your property can end up in the hands of someone you dislike or don’t trust.
Question #2: Where do I file the will when a loved one dies?
A: You need to file the will in the county of the deceased’s residence at the time of their death. Wills should be filed within 30 days of your loved one’s death. There is no need to file before the death because the courts in South Carolina will not accept or store wills.
Question #3: Is the personal representative and/or family responsible for the deceased’s debts?
A: Generally the answer is no. Usually, only the assets of the estate are available for unsecured creditors, such as credit cards, medical bills, and other debts. Secured creditors (like car loans and mortgages) may still need to be paid to keep the asset. Dealing with creditors without proper legal advice can be a costly mistake, so consult with our legal team today to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of.
Question #4: Are my documents still valid if I move to another state?
A: Generally, yes. Although your documents are typically still valid when you move to a new state, our legal professionals recommend consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney just to double-check.
Question #5: Is there a way to avoid probate?
A: This question generates a lot of confusion because people are often really asking how they can avoid taxes as opposed to the actual probate process. Whether or not you have to go to Probate Court depends on the assets you have when you pass away and how they are held. It is important to note that probate is not always a bad thing, it just serves to transfer title once someone has died.
Question #6: What is a trust?
A: A trust is a form of property ownership where legal and equitable title are split. In a trust, a trustee holds the legal title to the property for the use and enjoyment of the trust beneficiaries. The best way to determine if you need a trust is to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney to understand the reasons you may or may not wish to include one in your estate plan.
Question #7: Do I need a trust?
A: The majority of our clients do not need a trust; however, this depends on your assets, goals, and family situation.
Question #8: Is there a difference between a will and a living will?
A: These documents are often confused but are very different. A will (often called a Last Will and Testament) disposes of your property at death. Meanwhile, a living will is a medical care document that contains statements of your wishes regarding life support and palliative care.
Estate Planning Services for Your Unique Needs
If you’re ready to start planning your estate to ensure your family’s future is protected so that your legacy can live on, then call PMC Law Firm to set up your first appointment with one of our lawyers. We will go over the many different estate planning packages we offer at our firm and work closely with you to create a plan that meets your needs.
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