Butler Law

Myrtle Beach Estate Law Blog

Reasons that an estate plan needs to be updated

Many Myrtle Beach area residents have taken the time to create an estate plan. This is an important step in ensuring a person's wishes are followed upon their death. But just because an estate plan has been created does not mean that's the end of it. An estate plan needs to be regularly reviewed and updated.

One reason why an estate plan may need to be updated is if a move to another state has happened. Each state has their own laws regarding estate planning. Another reason to update an estate plan is if there is a new addition to the family, a divorce, or a death. It's best to revise documents to incorporate the new family members or remove the people who are no longer in the family. If there is a significant change in assets, reviewing how property is divided can be a good idea. Another update that may need to be made is when beneficiary designations are not correct on a 401k or IRA. The designations on the plan are what is used for asset disbursement, not what is written in a will or trust. Finally, an estate plan may need to be updated if executors or trustees are no longer appropriate. Circumstances surrounding an executor appointment may have changed and updating who these people are is important.

Is updating an estate plan important after a move to Florida?

Many people in Florida have moved from another state. Whether for retirement to a warmer climate or for job opportunities, there are many reasons why Florida attracts new residents. When a person moves to Florida and already has an estate plan, there are certain things to keep in mind.

If a person moves to Florida they may have questions about their estate plan that was created in another state. A will that was created in another state is valid in Florida with some exceptions. One is if a person now homesteads in Florida and the will states that the house should be put into a trust for the benefit of a spouse and children after a death, that would be a problem. A Florida homestead is devisable only to a surviving spouse and cannot be controlled by a trustee. Another issue to be aware of is if the will states that upon a person's death, the house should be sold and assets split among the children. If a spouse is still alive, this won't work, and a homestead exemption can be lost for creditor protection purposes. One other problem is that the out of state will may name an executor who is not a relative. Florida only allows a nonrelative to be an estate executor if they are a resident of the state.

Four estate-planning steps cryptocurrency owners should take

Many Myrtle Beach area residents have taken the time necessary to create an estate plan to protect their estate, medical care wishes, children, etc. An estate plan is critical in ensuring a person's wishes are followed after they become incapacitated or pass away. There are always changes in estate planning and it is a fluid process that people should revisit often to make sure all of their plans are still valid. One new addition to estate planning is incorporating cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency investing has become popular for Florida residents. Digital assets are an investment that many people are engaged in. Since they are so popular, it is important for those who have these digital assets to make sure they include them in their estate plan. First, investors need to record the private access information and give this information to their estate representative. Information may include a private key, passwords, and two factor authentication information. Next, digital wallets which hold these currencies should be transferred to a hardware wallet. A hardware wallet is an encrypted flash drive that requires a password to access.

Millennials need to think about creating an estate plan

Many Myrtle Beach millennials have not taken the time to consider creating an estate plan. Most think an estate plan is for people who are older and nearer the end of their life. The truth is that almost everyone can benefit from an estate plan.

Almost 60 percent of Americans have not taken the time to create an estate plan. This can be a problem for those who have children and even those who do not. Although we all assume we will live forever, an unexpected accident can occur that leaves a person incapacitated or deceased. An estate plan offers protection for a person's assets, along with their medical wishes and plans for their children in case the unexpected occurs. Only 36 percent of adults with children under the age of 18 have an estate plan in place. Millennials are overlooking the importance of having a will. With a will, a family can name who they want to take care of their children. Without a will, the court decides. In addition, a will can include who will receive assets and what medical care a person would want if they're incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes.

Is there still probate court without a will?

If a loved one has died intestate, meaning without a will, you may be inclined to believe that probate, the official proving of a will, would not be necessary. However, probate can't be avoided because of the absence of a will.

In fact, there tends to be more probate litigation in intestate cases due to the lack of official documentation detailing the loved one’s wishes. Here are a few of the issues that often arise in intestate probate cases.

Tips to avoid estate planning mistakes and reduce family discord

Many Myrtle Beach area residents have taken the time necessary to create an estate plan. With an estate plan, a person's assets are distributed as they have intended, along with designating medical care and financial care to a specific person. But, there are certain things a person should keep in mind when creating their will in order to minimize family conflict.

When creating a will a person should carefully consider who they name as executor. Many times, when a child is named an executor, the other siblings may argue that the sibling is not doing their job or stealing from the estate. Rather than selecting a child to be an executor, it may be a better idea to choose a professional fiduciary. Personal property should also be included in a will. Heirs often fight over who receives the good silver, a holiday decoration, or other item that may seem insignificant but can cause major problems. A person should ask their children what items are important to them and make a list with who gets what. And if there are any unusual bequests that a person makes it can be important to explain this to the heirs. If one child is to receive more than another it is important for everyone to understand why. Or if a charity is set to receive a significant portion of the estate, the children should be told why this is important.

Estate planning for digital assets

Estate planning for Myrtle Beach residents is constantly evolving. Estate planning does not just involve wills and trusts, but also can encompass guardianship designations, power of attorney, pet trusts, and digital asset planning. Digital assets are important assets that often are forgotten in estate planning. Including them allows a family to manage assets easier after a person's death and makes sure they are not lost or forgotten.

Almost everyone these days has some sort of digital presence. Many people access their bank accounts online, or they have an online only bank account. There is also digital money, like bitcoins. And social media is something most of us can't avoid. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, are just a few examples of websites many frequently visit. Many people also store their pictures in online websites and have digital music accounts and shop on websites like Amazon.

Inheritance issues that can cause family problems

Many Myrtle Beach area residents will receive an inheritance in their lifetime. Lots of families have made plans to create an estate plan for their family that includes gifting money to loved ones. This is important and is something that many families value. But, occasionally there are problems with an inheritance that causes family disagreements.

One mistake an heir can make with an inheritance is spending all the money carelessly. The person who left the money probably didn't want this money being spent on new houses, cars, boats, etc. The money can be gone in a short time, instead of lasting years as was originally intended. Another problem that is common is when one heir receives more assets than another. This can lead to jealousy and resentment among family members. If a person who has another income source suddenly receives a large inheritance, it can complicate the benefits they receive. Disabled people who are on social security disability and receiving government benefits can lose them and getting back on these important benefits can be complicated.

With no will, questions arise over singer Franklin's estate

Myrtle Beach residents, like most Americans, were saddened to hear of the passing of legendary vocalist Aretha Franklin. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Queen of Soul did not leave a will, and questions circulate regarding what will happen to her estate.

Franklin's estate is worth millions even without the catalog of her recorded music; she owned several multi-million dollar homes in the Midwest. Regarding her music, unlike many artists, she held on to the rights to the songs that she wrote and often shared in the copyrights to music that others wrote and she performed. But it will be challenging to determine the value of that catalog, in part because of the surge in demand for her music shortly after her death - a greatest hits compilation, for example, shot to the number one spot on iTunes that same day.

Tips to help you divide your inheritance

Drawing up an estate plan is not always easy. Especially when it comes to the deeper aspects of family relationships and inheritance. However, there comes a time when you start to put into action measures that will delegate your assets to your intended heirs someday. How should you do this? What is the most peaceful way to reassign assets to family members?

The answer to these questions is very personal. Ultimately, the legal measures you take to ensure certain heirs get specified assets of yours is completely in your hands. However, there are things worth considering as you face this part of the estate planning process.

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