Blended families should be wary of relying intestacy laws
There are a lot of misconceptions about estate planning. One of the biggest is that an estate plan isn’t needed when you simply want to have your immediate loved ones, like your spouse or your children, inherit your assets. Neglecting to create a thorough estate plan can result in a lot of unintended consequences, though, especially if you’re part of a blended family. This is because South Carolina’s intestate laws, which dictate how assets pass down when there is no estate plan, may not line up with what you want to happen upon your passing.
South Carolina’s intestate laws
If you pass away without a will, then your assets will be distributed in accordance with state law. So if you have a spouse but no children, then your spouse will inherit everything. If you have children but no spouse, then your children will inherit everything. But if you have a spouse and children, then your spouse will receive half of your estate and your children will split the remaining half.
How intestacy can pose a risk to your loved ones
Intestacy might sound easy enough, but it can cause some really big headaches. For example, if you don’t have a spouse but want to leave assets to your step-children, you’ll need a will to dictate that. Otherwise your biological children will receive everything. The same problem can be seen if you want your biological children to inherit the majority of your estate. Without that direction in your estate plan, your spouse will inherit half of your estate and is under no obligation to leave those assets to your biological children upon passing.
Be informed, then act
Estate planning may be more important for your family’s future than you realize. That’s why it’s crucial that you identify what you want for the future of your estate and your loved ones, then education yourself on your options to achieve those goals. Fortunately, you don’t have to face the process alone. Instead, you can work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help inform you and guide you throughout the process so that you can make the decisions that are right for you and your family.