When someone dies, they almost always leave behind assets of one type or another. Sometimes a large and valuable estate is left behind while in other cases only personal property is left behind. In most cases, the legal process known as probate is required in order to ensure that the decedent’s estate assets are properly handled after death and passed down to the intended beneficiaries or heirs of the estate. Is probate always required though? The answer is “no”, probate is not always … [Read more...] about Is Probate Always Required?
Like most people, when you think about estate planning you think about deciding who will receive the most valuable assets you own – your home, a retirement account, an investment account, or maybe a family business. Without a doubt, it is important to plan for the disposition of those assets; however, it is often just as important to decide who gets the sentimental assets in your estate plan. To understand why, consider the fate of a single tuxedo that was part of the estate of actor and … [Read more...] about Why It Is Important to Decide Who Gets the Sentimental Assets in Your Estate Plan
At some point in your life you will likely be involved in the probate process in some capacity. You may be appointed as the executor in someone’s Last Will and Testament, named as a beneficiary by a decedent, or be a creditor of an estate. If you have never been through the probate process you will likely have a number of questions about the process, starting with “ How long does the probate process take in South Carolina? ” Because no two estates are the same there is no way to answer that … [Read more...] about How Long Does the Probate Process Take in South Carolina?
In the United States it often seems as though just about everything is taxed. It seems that way because the truth is that just about everything is potentially taxed! It should come as no surprise then to find that tax avoidance is a common estate planning goal. In order to avoid taxes though you need to understand all the potential ways in which your estate can be taxed and/or all the potential tax implications of your estate planning decisions. For example, are you familiar with the capital … [Read more...] about What Is Capital Gains Tax?
Whether because you are creating your own estate or because someone else has named you as one, you will undoubtedly need to know what an Executor is and what the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position are. All too often people make the mistake of naming an Executor in their Last Will and Testament without giving much thought to the appointment, often with disastrous results. When an individual creates a Last Will and Testament a number of important decisions must be made. … [Read more...] about What Is an Executor?
At some point in your life you may be faced with the difficult decision to pursue guardianship over a family member or loved one. Making the decision to petition for guardianship is rarely easy because it often feels as though you are takin away your loved one’s freedom and independence. If the person in question is your parent and you feel guardianship is needed because your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another age related dementia disease it is important to keep in mind that failing … [Read more...] about How Is Incapacity Defined in South Carolina?
If you are involved in any type of civil litigation in South Carolina there is a chance that the court will encourage you, if not require you, to attend mediation before the court will set the matter for an actual trial. While the results of mediation vary greatly, it is important for you to understand the common benefits of mediation so you know what to expect during your mediation session. Mediation is a tool used by the courts to try and resolve cases without the need to have a full blown … [Read more...] about What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
To say that Americans love their pets would be an understatement. In the United States, three out of every five households has at least one dog or cat. Collectively, that means that we own about 80 million dogs and cats in the U.S. – and that figure doesn’t take into account other types of pets such as birds, rabbits, reptiles, and the numerous other critters people keep as pets. As a way to remind people of the importance of caring for their pets, February is designated as “ Responsible Pet … [Read more...] about Celebrate “ Responsible Pet Owner’s Month ” by Creating a Pet Trust
If you are the parent, grandparent, or caregiver of a special needs child care must be taken when including your special needs child in your estate plan. Simply gifting assets to your child, however well intentioned, could cause more problems than it will solve. At the same time, providing for a special needs loved one in your estate plan is typically even more important than providing for other loved ones. One way to ensure that your special needs child is provided for in your estate plan … [Read more...] about What Is a Special Needs Trust?
The primary purpose of most estate plans is to provide for loved ones after the death of the individual creating the plan. Like most people, however, you will likely include additional objectives and considerations in your estate plan as well when you create yours. For example, tax avoidance is a common consideration when creating an estate plan. If you are married, therefore, you may wish to know “ How can I leave my estate to my spouse tax-free? ” The reason tax avoidance is a common … [Read more...] about How Can I Leave My Estate to My Spouse Tax-Free?