Don't wait until it's too late.
Planning for the future isn't complicated and shouldn't be scary or intimidating. Talk to one of our attorneys about making plans for your future and your loved ones.
Last Will and Testament
Everyone should have a will. A will is necessary in order to dispose of your property and provide for your family according to your wishes.
If you die without leaving a valid last will and testament, then the State of South Carolina has already determined an "estate plan by default," which is called "intestate succession." The laws of intestate succession do favor your blood relatives but make no distinction between different items or types of property. An intestate estate can result in numerous heirs inheriting fractional interests in property, which can create "heir property."
Any adult who is of sound mind may make a will. With a will, you may tailor the distribution of your estate to fit your wishes in numerous ways, including:
leaving specific items of property to different people;
leaving specific shares of property to different people;
leaving property to distant relatives, to friends, or to charities;
leaving property to a trustee to administer for the benefit of your survivors;
designating a person to act as "personal representative" of your estate; and
appointing someone to act as guardian for a child or incapacitated family member.
Ingram Law Firm offers affordable and competitive prices for preparing simple wills. Don't pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a simple or standard will.
If you own real estate free and clear of a mortgage or other liens, then you make want to re-title the property either by creating a joint tenancy with right of survivorship or by retaining a life estate (commonly referred to as "lifetime rights") and transferring the remainder interest to a family member. Both of these transfers create "non-probate property" that would not pass through a probate estate.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to discuss your options and to determine whether these types of transfers would be appropriate under your particular circumstances.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that grants authority to an agent or attorney-in-fact (the recipient of the power) to act in the place of the principal (the giver of the power). Because a power of attorney may be misused or abused, you should give this power only to someone you trust completely.
The State of South Carolina enacted revised Power of Attorney laws on January 1, 2017.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney grants authority to an agent to manage the principal's property or business affairs. If a power of attorney is "durable," then it will not be terminated if the principal becomes incapacitated. However, if you become incapacitated and do not have a proper power of attorney in place, then your family members must go through the expensive and time-consuming process of setting up a conservatorship or guardianship through the Probate Court.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone to make all health care decisions for you if and when you cannot make those decisions for yourself. On the other hand, a "living will" (also known as a Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death) is less comprehensive and allows you to express your choices about your care only if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
Ask Your Attorney About a Power of Attorney
We strongly discourage using or relying upon "do-it-yourself" forms that are widely available on the Internet. We have seen numerous "power of attorney" documents prepared by non-lawyers that were not effective either because they were worded incorrectly, signed incorrectly, witnessed incorrectly, or recorded incorrectly.
Contact Ingram Law Firm to discuss powers of attorney with a qualified attorney.