Ideally, South Carolina residents and others will develop and refine an estate plan that meets their current and future needs. In many cases, a plan will need to be reviewed and updated as life events such as a divorce or a death in the family take place. One of the primary mistakes a person can make when it comes to managing their assets is not having a plan at all.
At a minimum, a person should have a will and durable powers of attorney. The will dictates where assets go after an individual passes while the powers of attorney allow trusted individuals to make decisions on an incapacitated individual’s behalf. If someone dies without a valid will or trust, assets will likely be allocated per state law. This means that an estranged parent or sibling could get a home, car or another item that was intended for someone else.
Individuals who use beneficiary designations should review them from time to time. Doing so can ensure that the right person receives money in a bank account or the death benefit from a life insurance policy. It also ensures that the beneficiary designation is not left blank. Anyone who has created a revocable living trust should make sure that it has been funded. A trust that doesn’t own any assets is similar to not having a trust at all.
In some cases, creating a will may meet a person’s estate planning needs. However, this isn’t always true. Even if a person doesn’t need more than a will, it is important to ensure that it is drafted correctly. Otherwise, it might be possible for another party to challenge it. An attorney may be able to help a person create or alter a will, trust or other estate plan documents.