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December 9, 2016

Estate Planning Is Not Just For the Elderly

estate planning lawyer in Greenville South Carolina

Many young people in South Carolina make the mistake of assuming that they have many years ahead before they will need to worry about estate planning. Others think that they don’t need to bother with such cautionary measures if they don’t have many assets or a lot of wealth. The reality is that every adult – meaning everyone over the age of 18 years old – should be prepared for the possibility of the unexpected. Anyone can pass away or become incapacitated, and while nobody likes to think about it, it is important to have an estate plan in place, because we all know that it could happen.

There are many things that can be covered in your estate plan, including who can act in financial and healthcare matters on your behalf if you become unable to make such decisions, who will get your property, who will take care of your children and pets, etc. You can set up a Power of Attorney so that there will be someone with the legal authority to make decisions for you when you cannot. The Durable Power of Attorney can make financial decisions, and the Healthcare Power of Attorney can make healthcare decisions. The agents that you would appoint under those documents can be the same person, or they can be different. Many people discuss such matters with their loved ones, but fail to put anything in writing that can be legally upheld when something terrible happens. This is because, while you may think about it and even discuss it, most people don’t really think the worst is going to happen. When it does, they are unprepared. To ensure that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to exercise your own free will, you need to have legal documents in place to address those wishes.

 What Happens To Your Property and Your Family When You Pass Away?

Anyone who has any kind of property or a family to take care of needs to have an estate plan that involves a Last Will and Testament to dictate what happens to those assets which would pass through probate at their death. Through estate planning, you can ensure that your assets are handled as you wish them to be and that your loved ones have the care that you want them to have. For example, if you have any children or any pets, you want to make sure that they are cared for. If you have a home or any other property that you care about and wish to be passed on to certain persons, then you need to have these wishes legally documented to be upheld.

While everyone’s estate plan will look different, according to their own unique circumstances, they will all usually involve a Last Will and Testament, identified Durable and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, and also a Living Will. Some will include a Revocable Living Trust as well, which allows for the assets within the trust to be transferred to loved ones without having to pass through probate.

What Should You Include In Your Own Estate Plan? 

Your estate plan in South Carolina needs to include a few things, according to your family and circumstances. If you have minor children, you could establish a trust and name a guardian. You can also name a guardian for any pets that you may have. You also need to ensure that you leave instructions and passwords for any important documents that will need to be addressed. Further, if you have any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, annuities, or other such accounts, you should name beneficiaries in such a way as to coordinate those benefits with your overall estate planning objectives.

Case Example of Why Young People Need Wills Too

An example of why young people need wills too can be seen in a couple of clients of the Anderson Law Firm who had been together for a few years, and were engaged, but not married. They had recently had their first child. There were serious complications during the birth of that child, and a real possibility of the mother losing her life in the process of giving life to her son. Fortunately, the mother in this case survived, but it was certainly a wakeup call to herself and her fiancé. They realized that anything could have happened, and they would not have been prepared.

This couple decided to start creating their estate plan as soon as they were released from the hospital, with a new appreciation for the fragility of life, and an awareness for all of the complications that might have been faced by the father and his newborn child if the mother had not made it through the complications associated with that difficult birth. They made sure that they planned for the child’s care, for the appropriate division of assets, and for all of the other unexpected things that could happen.

Contact the Anderson Law Firm for Your SC Estate Planning Needs 

When you contact the determined SC estate planning attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm to go over your own estate planning needs in South Carolina, we’ll help you to ascertain the unique needs of your own family and assets, and develop an estate plan that will cover every possible eventuality. Then, you can go on living your life, secure in the knowledge that you know what will happen to your loved ones and your assets should something happen to you.