Estate Planning Attorney Aiken SC

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Planning for the financial future of your family can be overwhelming. That’s why it is so important to talk with someone that understands the legal implications for all the different options available to both you and your family.

The estate planning attorneys at Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer and Staggs (JJWLS) in Aiken, South Carolina can guide you through this challenging process. We have a good understanding of the state’s legal system and can help you make the right decision.

Table of Contents

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning refers to the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate. It can also be defined as the process of designating those that will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities upon your incapacitation or death.

What Are the Benefits of Estate Planning?

Estate planning provides many benefits, which include:

  • Special Needs Planning: A special needs trust can be created for persons with disabilities to retain their own financial resources and still qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid or Social Security Income (SSI).
  • Business Succession Planning: If you have a stake in a business, you can provide for continuation of its affairs and orderly succession by spelling out what should happen to your interest in the business after your death.
  • Charitable Giving: Your estate plan can also support various charitable causes either during your lifetime or upon your death, while at the same time taking advantage of tax laws aimed at encouraging private philanthropy.

What is the Estate Planning Process?

The estate planning process in South Carolina entails the following:

Assessment of Assets and Goals

Your estate plan will be most effective when you know what assets you would like to protect and pass on to your loved ones upon your death. Making a list of your goals and assets is a great way to start creating the perfect estate plan.

Drafting the Estate Plan

After listing your goals and assets, it’s now time to put everything in writing. You will need to create or complete various paperwork. It is generally advisable to have a lawyer assisting you during this step to ensure that everything is done right.

Review and Update

Your family’s needs are constantly changing. The death or birth of family members can change how you want to do your planning. That’s why it is so important to regularly review and update your plan in response to life changes, shifts in financial circumstances, or legal changes.

What Are Some Challenges in Estate Planning?

Estate planning sometimes faces challenges that require thoughtful consideration. They include:

Minimizing Taxes

Estate taxes could take a significant portion of the estate you pass down to heirs. You should always consider implementing tax saving strategies for estate planning. Gifts, donations, and trusts are all great ways to ease the tax burden.

Addressing Family Dynamics

Estate planning allows you to show your loved ones just how much you care. However, the choices you make can bring disputes. It’s always important to give thought to how to help resolve such conflicts or at least not make them worse.

How Can I Avoid Going to Probate Court?

If you wish to avoid probate court, consider the following:

  • Transfer Property to a Revocable Trust: A revocable trust, also referred to as a living trust, allows you to retain control over property during your lifetime, with the property passing down to your designated beneficiary upon your death.
  • Give Away Your Property: Transferring your property to loved ones prior to your death is another way to avoid entering probate.
  • Creating a Will: Creating a will is an excellent way to make sure that all your possessions are distributed to the designated beneficiaries. Having a will does not avoid probate completely, but it helps speed up the process.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Retirement accounts such as IRAs, annuities, 401(k)s and retirement accounts all have designated beneficiaries within the documents and those funds go directly to the beneficiary without the need for probate.

What Is the Role of an Estate Planning Lawyer?

Estate planning lawyers work with clients to create a customized estate plan based on individual needs. Your estate planning attorney may assist you in the following ways:

  • Personalized Legal Advice: If you work with an estate planning lawyer, they will provide personalized legal advice aimed at addressing unique goals and circumstances in estate planning.
  • Document Preparation and Review: Your estate planning lawyer will also help you draft the documents that will help you achieve your estate planning goals. The lawyer will also recommend intervals at which the documents should be reviewed.
  • Estate and Trust Administration: Your estate planning lawyer will also provide guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the designated executors and trustees in administering an estate or trust in accordance with the estate plan.

Talk with Our Estate Planning Attorney Aiken SC Today!

Are you looking for an experienced estate planning lawyer in Aiken, SC? If so, we invite you to get in touch with one of our lawyers. Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer and Staggs (JJWLS) is a law firm with a proven track record serving clients throughout Aiken.

We are happy to help you address any estate planning issues and answer all your questions, from the simplest to the most complex. To schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team, call Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer and Staggs today!