Estate planning for after death is incredibly important, especially for your loved ones. 56 percent of Americans claim they don’t have a will. Typically, belongings are passed to a surviving spouse or children. But what if you don’t have any children? If you don’t have a will. Your estate might end up with family members you never intend to have any of your property. You can address these concerns through estate planning. While estate planning might not pay off during your lifetime (peace-of-mind notwithstanding), it is still an important investment to make.
The simplest way to start is to write down what you want to leave to who, and then talk to a lawyer who can help you with the legal documents. This includes not only money but property and heirlooms, too.
Writing a Will in South Carolina
One of the most basic elements of estate planning is a will — and many people don’t even have this. If you don’t have a will at the time of your death, then the state will have to make decisions about how to divvy up your estate, which means your property might not end up where you want it to be.
You may simply have never felt the pressure to write a will; you are healthy and not expecting any disasters to hit after all. However, at some point, you might realize that you have quite a valuable estate and you want it to go to someone you care about after you pass away. While there are several different ways to go about making a will, using a lawyer is the best way to go.
This will help your power of attorney know what you want if you are ever on life support or have a terminal illness. It can be stressful for a caregiver to know what their loved one wants. A living will; will help make this job easier for your loved one and ensure that you receive the treatment you want.
Power of Attorney in South Carolina
Designate someone to have a power of attorney who can make financial and health care decisions if you are ever in a position where you are unable to do so. Whoever you choose as your power of attorney, you are going to want to trust them completely. You don’t want someone in control of your finances who might take advantage of you.
Write out exactly how you want potential situations to be handled. For example, provide instructions on how you want to receive medical care. This way, if you are ever at a point in your life where you find it difficult to communicate your desires, your power of attorney agent will still know your wishes. This will also help your power of attorney agent if there are disagreements among your loved ones as to how you should be cared for.
Designating someone to have power of attorney is incredibly important for couples who are not legally married. If you want your significant other to receive everything and make important decisions for you, but your relationship is not recognized by law, then you need to specify this.
Beneficiaries in South Carolina
You will also need to decide who your beneficiaries will be. Often, people without children choose to pass on their assets to nieces or nephews. People also commonly make donations to charities after their death. You might want to consider making these types of donations while your still alive though; this way you can receive an income tax deduction and a gift tax deduction. If you prefer making a donation after death, however, consider using the money in your retirement accounts to do so. By using this money instead of your other assets, you can help the organization you are donating to avoid taxes. You could also set up a charitable institution and provide instructions on how you want the money to be spent over time.
Executor in South Carolina
An executor or a personal representative of your estate is the person who has the legal responsibility of handling your estate, including everything from selling your home to paying your debts. Choose someone who is reliable and will be willing to take on this responsibility, no matter what else is going on in his or her life. This can be a difficult decision. After all, you are asking someone to take on a big role. One option is to talk to your bank’s trust division to see if you can name the bank as your executor. Just keep in mind your bank may charge a fee for performing this responsibility.
Watts Law Firm
Patrick Watts is an experienced estate planning attorney in Summerville, South Carolina. Mr. Watts will take the time to help you create a personalized estate plan that will help you keep your peace of mind. There are many things to consider when estate planning, and Watts Law Firm can help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Estate planning without an heir is actually a fairly common situation to face. Many people without children are concerned about what will happen to their estates after they pass away. However, with some help from an experienced attorney, you can make sure that all your affairs are in order, even if you don’t have children.