Butler Law

Myrtle Beach Estate Law Blog

Should your kids be treated equally in an estate plan?

Myrtle Beach area residents who are working through their estate plan must often decide where they should leave their assets. Many people have children and dividing the assets equally among the children is a common action for most. But, do children need to be treated equally in an estate plan?

Although most people divide their assets evenly among their children, this is not required. One school of thought is that assets should be divided equitably, where each child receives their fair share, depending on their circumstances. Equal amounts given to each child makes sense when the children are: under the age of 18; when each child has similar needs and is similarly situated in life; when the children received equal amounts of help from the parents; and when each child is mentally capable and responsible.

Planning for incapacity

Most Myrtle Beach residents do not have any interest in considering what will happen to them if they become incapacitated. However, a medical emergency could occur at any time, placing family members in the difficult position of making important decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. An incapacity plan can help alleviate this situation.

An incapacity plan ensures that a person's own wishes are followed in the event they become incapacitated. A plan allows a person to make these decisions while they are still able and takes the pressure off family and friends who may not know what their loved one would want. An incapacity plan usually includes a living will or advanced health care directive, which specifies what medical care a person would want. It can also include a durable power of attorney, which designates a person to make financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.

You may still need a will even if you have a trust

Many people believe that someone must choose a will or a trust for his or her estate plan. However, these people may not realize that it is often a good strategy to have both documents.

Including a trust in your estate plan can have many benefits. Unfortunately, you must remember to transfer ownership of each asset to the trust for this type of plan to work. Assets that are not in your trust at the time of your death will usually not avoid probate or get distributed to your beneficiaries based on the provisions of your trust. This is where a will can help.

What are the options if an executor isn't doing their job?

Many Myrtle Beach residents have had to experience a loved one's death and deal with the probate process. An executor is a person named in the will whose job is to distribute the estate as the decedent intended. It can be a difficult job, but most executors perform it well. When a person believes that the estate executor is not doing their job, they have a few options.

If an heir or beneficiary believes that the executor is not doing their job, they have a few options to pursue. One option is to bring that person to court and have them removed from the estate. This occurs when a person is able to prove that the executor has engaged in misconduct. The court will hold a hearing and allow both parties to present their arguments before it makes a decision.

New parents need to consider estate planning

When many Myrtle Beach area parents hear the words, estate planning, they may think that it is for older people. However, estate planning is for everyone, including new parents.

Every stage of life requires an estate plan. An estate plan created by someone in their 20s is different than those in their 80s but is still equally important. New parents have special estate planning steps they need to take. First, they should set up health care proxy and power of attorney documents. This can ensure that if they become incapacitated, someone will be designated to step in and make important decisions. New parents should also designate a guardian for their children.

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.

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Butler Law
4420 Oleander Drive, Suite 202
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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