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Myrtle Beach Estate Law Blog

Including digital currency in an estate plan

Estate planning is no longer just about wills and trusts. It continues to evolve with the newest way people live in Myrtle Beach and across the U.S. There are always new technologies and advances that require an estate plan to protect. Digital currency is something that didn't exist ten years ago but has now ballooned into a legitimate asset.

Over the past few years, digital currency continues to expand and become more and more popular. Besides Bitcoin, others are joining in on the cryptocurrency and digital currency movement. More of our lives are moving online which is leading to more of our assets being located there. There is currently over $300 billion in cryptocurrency in the world.

3 times in your life when you should update your estate plan

As you get older, you start to prioritize what’s important to you. You want to make sure your assets will be distributed to the people you care about when you’re gone. Updating your estate plan is a smart move if something significant in your life changes.

Your relationships change

Why would you want a revocable trust in your estate plan?

Many Myrtle Beach area residents have taken the time to think about creating an estate plan. There are many different aspects of an estate plan that can be beneficial for a family no matter what their financial situation. One estate planning tool that a family may want to look into is a revocable trust.

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, is a wonderful estate planning tool that is appropriate for many families. A revocable trust is often used as a will replacement and offers the creator many advantages. One major advantage is the ability to bypass probate court. Many people want the ability for their estate to not enter into probate as it can be expensive, time-consuming, and is also public record. When assets are placed into a living trust, they are distributed according to the creator's wishes and not according to what the court decides.

An Alzheimer's diagnosis and estate planning

When a Myrtle Beach area family receives the devastating news that their loved one has Alzheimer's disease it is an emotional time. There are many uncertainties surrounding Alzheimer's including how the progression will affect their loved one, who will take care of their loved one and how their loved one's assets can be protected. Estate planning when there is an Alzheimer's diagnosis is crucial.

Alzheimer's is one of the most devastating diagnosis a person can receive and can be difficult for everyone in the family. Soon after receiving a diagnosis a family should put together a care plan and an estate plan before their loved one's cognitive functions get worse. A living will with medical and durable powers of attorney is important. These powers of attorney along with a trust, will and supplemental needs trust are also important.

Blended families and estate planning

Although no one in the Myrtle Beach area gets married expecting the marriage to end in divorce, a certain percentage of marriages do end in divorce. After a divorce many people choose to remarry and start their life again. With a blended family, estate planning becomes even more important.

If there is already an estate plan in place when a person gets remarried, it should be reviewed. A new marriage is a major life event that needs to be addressed in an estate plan. Beneficiaries, insurance policies and other financial accounts will all need to be updated. When there is a new marriage, the biological children from previous marriages should also be addressed in the estate plan. A will may not be enough to protect a person's assets and leave them to whom they intend.

Remember to share your estate plan with your family

Estate planning can be very personal. Details, such as what your assets are, how you plan to distribute them, who you trust as alternate decision-makers and who you trust to handle your final affairs, can be difficult to talk about, especially if you are trying to avoid conflict with family members.

However, sharing some details about your estate plan with family members can actually help prevent hard feelings, miscommunication and family infighting in the future. It may even help prevent your loved ones from challenging your will or other estate planning documents in court.

Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

In this day and age, it is nearly impossible for a Myrtle Beach resident to not have an online presence. Digital assets have fast become an important part of an estate plan. When a person passes away, it can be difficult for the family to access these online accounts. The Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is legislation that residents may want to be aware of.

There are two purposes of the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. First, the Act provides fiduciaries the legal right to access digital assets in the same way they are given access to tangible assets and accounts. And second, the Act allows the digital asset company to legally interact with the fiduciary while still honoring the user's privacy.

Who can contest a will?

Many Myrtle Beach area residents have had a chance to put together an estate plan. When an estate plan is created, it is expected that it will be followed as written. Usually, this is the case and an estate plan is a welcome document when a person passes away. Occasionally, a will is contested in probate litigation.

Contesting a will sounds like a dramatic event that happens to celebrities. However, any family can have a contested will situation. Not anyone can contest a will, though. Those who are named in the will and those who would have inherited if there hadn't been a will both have legal standing to contest a will. Beneficiaries named in the will are often family members but can be charitable organizations, friends or other organizations. Those who would have inherited if there hadn't been a will are considered heirs. Heirs are usually family of the deceased.

Estate planning for families with special needs children

Many Myrtle Beach area families have a child with special needs. These families understand the hardship and stress that goes along with having a special needs child. Families with special needs children must understand the importance of having an estate plan and how critical it is for their child's future.

There are several things families with special needs children should include in an estate plan. When creating an estate plan, they should start small and begin with a letter of intent. The letter needs to include what parents want their child's future to look like and who will be involved in their life. It can also include information like the child's daily schedule, likes and dislikes, etc. The letter should be updated each year to ensure it is up-to-date.

Be sure to update your estate plan after divorce

Most people, upon creating an estate plan, will check it off of a to-do list and promptly forget about it. However, estate plans are not meant to be created and then left stagnant.

Your life is filled with change, and your estate plan works best when it reflects changes as they occur. Many of the changes that should spark an estate plan update align with milestones, such as getting married, purchasing a home or having a child. However, you should also update your estate plan after getting a divorce.

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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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