People in South Carolina may consider using a revocable living trust as part of their estate plan to address issues that cannot be rectified with a will. A living trust is one that is created during an individual's lifetime and is useful in helping them with asset management and with ensuring that their wishes are carried out if they become incapacitated.
The majority of living trusts are created so that an individual has the option to revoke them or change the provisions at their discretion. Because they can be revoked or amended, and thereby included in the estate, they cannot be used to avoid being assessed taxes on the estate. However, they can be used to bypass the probate process.
There are also irrevocable living trusts that individuals may consider. This type of trust cannot be changed or revoked. They are almost solely created as a form of asset protection or part of a tax planning strategy.
A living trust differs from a will in that it provides an individual a mechanism for managing property while they are alive. It is one that exists during an individual's lifetime and is managed by the trustee, who may be the same individual who created the trust. The individual transfers ownership of certain assets to the trust, and that individual will continue to use those assets during their lifetime. When the individual dies, the assets will be transferred to beneficiaries or remain in the trust so that they can be managed by the trustee for the beneficiaries.
An attorney who offers estate planning services may advise clients on whether a revocable trust would be a beneficial part of their estate plan. The attorney may consider a client's assets and goals to assist with drafting a customized estate planning strategy.