Everyone in South Carolina should know at least a little about estate planning. That term can conjure up images of a large property with a spacious home on it. But in truth, even people who don’t own a home need to plan for how they want their estate to be handled when they die. Adults should have a will at minimum.

What wills do

Over 70% of American adults lack a will. This is a shame because having a will makes things much easier for survivors after any death. A will is a legal document that any adult can prepare for themselves. There are many forms available that make it easy to do this, even without help from a lawyer. Wills outline how a person’s money and physical possessions should be dealt with after they pass away. But wills also have one other crucial function: They tell the state who should have custody of minor children should their parents die.

In writing a will, it’s important to designate beneficiaries. These are the people who will receive things from the estate. An executor also needs to be appointed. The executor is responsible for ensuring that everything written in the will is carried out. In order to do their job effectively, the executor needs the names, ages and addresses of all the beneficiaries.

Other estate planning tools

Wills are the cornerstone document when it comes to estate planning. However, there are other documents that people with families or complicated estates should consider. These include advance health care directives. Also known as a living will, an advance health care directive provides guidance for families when a loved one becomes incapacitated.