Taking Time in the Present to Think About the Future
When someone dies without a Will, South Carolina designates the deceased as intestate. Intestate means a person passed away without a valid Will; it can also apply when all of the decedent’s property has not been effectively distributed by the Will. When a South Carolina resident dies intestate, their estate will be divided by statute. For a married person, the division is between their spouse and children. If the deceased does not have a spouse or children, then the estate is divided between their nearest living relatives. All of this is mandated by statute. This may result in someone receiving property that you did not intend, or unintentionally leaving out someone you did want to inherit your property.
For those with minor children, another important reason to have a Will is to ensure that children are personally and financially cared for. This can be especially critical for single parents, who may want someone other than the biological parent or a relative to have custody of their child, and same-sex couples to have a plan in place in case they become incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly.
Not having a Will can result in extra turmoil and grief for your family, and it can result in prolonged litigation and fighting in the court system, tying up your property in the courts instead of it going to the loved ones you intended. The strategic thing to do as you are planning for the future is to also plan for what happens after you are no longer here. A Will can ensure that all of your hard-earned assets are properly distributed and the care of your children adequately addressed.
Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, not having a durable power of attorney will require a court proceeding to have a guardian appointed for you to manage your financial affairs. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, and can result in someone you would not have chosen yourself handling your finances.
Health Care Power of Attorney
At the end of the day, none of us want to think about the unexpected happening. However, having the peace of mind that your loved ones, your property, your financial affairs, and your health and best interests will be looked after should the worst happen needs to be a priority when you’re planning for your future. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you put the proper documents in place now so that you, and your loved ones, can enjoy your future.