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.
Audiences in South Carolina and elsewhere have been flocking to the movies to see the film "Knives Out," a creative take on a classic murder mystery featuring a cast packed with stars. The film has earned over $70 million at the box office with its take on the investigation of the death of an elderly, wealthy man. However, after people are done enjoying the film, they may wonder how closely the estate planning issues depicted in the movie compare to real-life concerns. The plot of the film involves determining who was responsible for a man's death as well as how his assets should be distributed.
The online lives of people in South Carolina often create digital assets. An estate plan that does not describe how to access digital assets might leave the executor of an estate and heirs permanently disconnected from the digital estate.
Many estate owners in South Carolina have heard that they should have a living will. However, they may not be fully clear about what this document represents. A living will is also called an advance health care directive. This document provides specific details about how a person's health care needs should be addressed if he or she is incapacitated and unable to make decisions about treatment. It can be a complex and emotionally challenging process to draft a living will because people will need to consider difficult topics about death or serious illness throughout the process.
Trusts have helped many people in South Carolina plan for the future. By creating a trust, people can develop a plan that not only cares for their assets at the present time but can distribute them after death. Trusts give people much greater levels of control and flexibility in determining how their assets will be handled after they pass away. They allow people to make plans for legacies of generational wealth or create a mechanism for charitable giving and philanthropy. In addition, people who create trusts have much higher levels of privacy, as they are not considered public documents and do not go through the probate process.
People in South Carolina who have young children should not limit their estate plan to just a will. In order to ensure that the assets they set aside for their children will be properly managed, the inclusion of a trust is necessary. A trust can be used to manage the assets so that they can be long-term resources for the intended beneficiaries.
Estate plans can help anyone protect assets or ensure that his or her final wishes are carried out. However, those who own businesses in South Carolina or anywhere else should have an estate plan in place to protect their companies. Creating a plan may help ensure that the surviving spouse will have the financial resources that he or she needs after the business owner dies or becomes incapacitated.
When people in South Carolina make a will, they may know just how important it is to keep a signed copy of this key estate document safe and secure. People make wills to determine how their assets will be distributed after they pass away. By planning for the future, they can specify the use of their property without relying on the state law standards. Estate planning is especially important for wealthy people, but it can help people of any means. Family members will find that dividing assets is an easier process if a clear, legal will is available, and they will generally spend less time and money in probate court.
People in South Carolina who are using a trust in their estate plan may also want to create a pour-over will. The purpose of a pour-over will is to place all assets not already in the trust or passed using other methods, such as beneficiary designations, into the trust.
People in South Carolina who fail to regularly review their estate plan may do so for various reasons. They may be reluctant to talk about death or may be intimated by the complex documents or tax laws. However, an estate plan that is not properly up to date may not be efficient enough to ensure the assets of an estate are distributed as preferred by the estate's owner.