South Carolina residents who want to plan for the future and protect their loved ones should always have a will. However, this isn’t enough to ensure that your loved ones get what’s theirs or that your wishes will be carried out.
Why should you have more than just a will?
When planning your estate, you should have a will. It allows you to state your wishes and name beneficiaries who will receive your property and assets after you die. A will also let you name guardians for your minor children in the event of your death. However, a will alone is not always sufficient in guaranteeing that your wishes will be carried out.
A will generally have to go through probate. Probate is a process that can prevent your family members from getting what you intend to leave them as inheritances for up to a year. Your family would also have to worry about paying taxes from your estate and dealing with your affairs.
What other legal documents should you have?
Certain legal documents should be included in your estate plan along with your will. A revocable living trust can safeguard the property and assets you wish to leave your loved ones in the future. Those things can be protected against probate and even bypass estate taxes. You manage the trust over your lifetime and are free to add or remove property and assets as you see appropriate.
Beneficiary designations let you name who should inherit your property, assets and any money that comes from insurance policies, retirement plans and so forth. You can update them when necessary. Name alternate beneficiaries just in case your first choices pass away before you.
Powers of attorney are estate plan documents that allow you to name trusted individuals to handle your affairs for you if you’re incapacitated. A financial power of attorney lets you name someone to take care of your financial matters. A health care power of attorney allows you to choose someone who will make sure your medical wishes are met.
Having a will that outlines your wishes is fine. However, it’s important to have additional estate planning documents so that those wishes can be carried out.