About two out of three households in South Carolina and around the country own a pet. Many people see their companion animals as cherished members of the family. Pets may be placed in shelters when their owners die, and they are often euthanized if they are not adopted. Adding pet provisions to a will is not a solution to this dilemma because a will provides no ongoing control over how animals are treated. It could also be several months before a will is probated.
There are no shortages of reasons why many South Carolina residents fail to complete the estate plan the vast majority of them fully understand they should and intend to establish. Of course, there is the uncomfortable thought of dealing with one's own mortality, but sooner or later everyone needs to confront that reality. And for many, there are difficult decisions or perhaps no good choices when it comes to dividing up assets among beneficiaries. But it's also true there is simply a common lack of understanding regarding what purpose individual estate planning documents serve and how they work together to protect the individual's interests.
Some people in South Carolina might be considering using a trust as part of their estate plan. A spendthrift trust can help ensure that assets are protected against a beneficiary's irresponsible spending. It can also protect assets against creditors.
A trust can be a powerful tool in an estate plan by protecting assets from creditors or in a divorce. When shares of a family business are placed in a trust, the voting rights are held by the trustee instead of the beneficiaries. This may help ensure that votes are made with the good of all beneficiaries in mind instead of the self-interest of just one person. Some people in South Carolina may want to build their estate plan around a trust, but it is important to have the right trustee.
South Carolina parents who are creating an estate plan might want to consider using a trust instead of a will. A trust can offer a number of advantages and give a parent more control over how his or her assets are distributed.
For fairly straightforward estates, a last will and testament may be sufficient for passing assets on to beneficiaries. However, some estate owners in South Carolina might want to consider a living trust, also known as a revocable trust. This estate planning vehicle has a number of advantages for people with larger estates or more complicated financial or family situations.
The American Association of Retired Persons reports that around half of adults do not have an estate plan, and some people in South Carolina may be part of that percentage. Individuals might not have a plan because they think they are too young, have too few assets or do not have family, but there are a number of reasons to create an estate plan.
When parents or grandparents in South Carolina create a trust for a child, they often wonder if they should tell them about it. Many of these children won't see the benefits of the trust for many years, but even the knowledge of the benefits may affect their behavior. The creator of the trust may have concerns that the beneficiary will lose ambition or feel entitled. Conversely, they don't want the child to be worried about their financial future.
When people in South Carolina think about planning for the future, they may wonder about the opportunities provided by instruments like trusts, which can be flexible and offer additional control. In addition to a will, many people opt to create trusts, especially if they want to pass property to minor relatives or otherwise direct a more complex distribution that may be possible in a will. After a trust has been established, people may wonder if they can make a second or additional trust.
Current federal tax laws have eliminated most of the need to use trusts to transfer assets because inheritance tax exemptions currently stand at $11,180,000. Although wealthy families in South Carolina might have few concerns about federal taxes at this point, trusts still offer significant benefits to people who want to exert control over the distribution of funds and keep wealth within a family.