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Why Should I Have an Estate Plan?

Thank you to our friends over at Straton & Reynolds for this information on estate planning. Be sure to give them a call at 803-358-7214


There is an old expression that nothing is sure except death and taxes. Yet often people put off estate planning until it is too late. Estate planning can be daunting and complex, but we can help you craft a plan that fits your unique situation and protects both your loved ones and your legacy. Some common life events that prompt our clients to make an estate plan are:


  • The birth of a child.

  • Buying their first home.

  • Taking stock of their finances and realizing that they have more assets than they thought.

  • A spouse or parent developed dementia.

  • An adult child filed for bankruptcy making them realize they can’t be trusted to manage money.

Below are examples of clients we have helped (with names and details changed) just to give some examples.


Chris and Samantha

Chris and Samantha were thrilled with the birth of their first daughter. She was perfect in every way, and they knew they would do anything to protect her. Being an emergency room nurse, Samantha was all too aware of how quickly tragedy can strike. They considered who they would trust to care for their daughter and quickly realized that there were certain family members whom they would never trust to care for their child. At the same time, there were others whom they knew they could not trust to manage their assets to provide for their child. Finally, they were very sure that they did not want their family members to have to struggle through probate. The attorneys at Stratton and Reynolds were able to help Chris and Samantha craft an estate plan that protected their child and gave them control over her future in the event of tragedy.


Michael and Emily

Michael and Emily had just purchased their first home together three years after getting married. They wanted to be sure that in the event of one spouse’s death, the other would inherit their home with minimal expense and hassle. The attorneys at Stratton and Reynolds were able to create a trust that will allow them to avoid probate and the headaches and expenses that go with it.


Jim

Jim was forced to take stock after his wife of 43 years died without a will. The time, hassle, and cost of probate convinced him to look at the value of his home and retirement accounts. Jim realized that while he was not wealthy, he had assets that he wanted to see go to his loved ones more smoothly and with less cost. We were able to help Jim achieve peace of mind about his loved ones’ futures and his legacy to them with a comprehensive estate plan.


Mariana

Mariana had a spouse who developed dementia. They had done no prior estate planning, and Mariana needed to be able to make medical and financial decisions. She was also worried that when he died his children from a prior marriage would inherit a share of the home they had bought together. This kind of situation is the saddest that we have seen. Mariana had to go through an expensive and lengthy court process to be appointed her husband’s guardian and be able to make financial decisions for him. Because of South Carolina’s inheritance laws, her stepchildren would inherit a portion of the home when her husband died leaving her extremely vulnerable to their decisions. If her husband had done some simple estate planning documents before he developed dementia, he could have specified that Mariana had use of their home for the remainder of her life, and he could have designated her as his Power of Attorney in the event he was incapacitated, saving a lot of heartache and expense.


Richard

Richard had a son who had always struggled with money. He tended to excuse his behavior and even bailed him out by paying off credit cards. When this son got in debt so deep that his only option was to declare bankruptcy, Richard had to face facts. He came to our attorneys to see what could be done to keep this son from spending everything Richard had worked his whole life to accumulate and to be fairer to his other children. We were able to craft a living trust that allowed Richard to use his assets for the remainder of his life and protected his son from going through his assets too quickly after he passed away. Richard also elected to leave a little extra to his two other children since he had helped his son so much over the years.

Everyone does need an estate plan. A well-crafted plan protects those we care most about. It avoids the hassle and expense of probate and takes your unique situation into consideration. Our attorneys enjoy getting to know each client and crafting a unique estate plan that will protect their loved ones and their legacy. Call us today if you or a loved one need to get a plan in place and let’s get started.

-Chasity and TC

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