Estate planning can be confusing and intimidating. Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney can bring you peace of mind knowing your wishes will be honored after the passing of yourself or a loved one. Beth Santilli Law has vast experience crafting secure, detailed trusts, wills and more for South Carolina residents. We will meet with you personally to discuss your needs and draft your documents until you are completely satisfied. After your passing, we will continue working with your loved ones until all of your assets have been successfully transferred. Get in touch today to learn more and start the estate planning process.

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Estate Planning Practice Areas

Many people think that an estate plan only includes a will, but that is not true. A comprehensive estate plan can include trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, preparation of deeds, and more. Beth Santilli Law can help you with:

Trusts

A trust is essentially a fiduciary relationship in which one person, known as the grantor, gives another party, known as the trustee, the right to hold and manage property and assets for the benefit of another person, known as the beneficiary.

There are many different types of trusts in South Carolina, but the most common is a revocable living trust. You can be named the trustee of a revocable living trust giving you control over the assets. These trusts can help beneficiaries avoid the lengthy process of probate—and because they are revocable, the grantor can change the trust at any time. An attorney at Beth Santilli Law can help you understand what type of trust is best for you.

Wills

Even though estate planning involves much more than drafting a will, a last will and testament is still a very important part of any estate plan. A will names your personal representative (also known as the executor) and beneficiaries of your estate. A will can also name a guardian for your children should you need one. When an individual passes away without a will, South Carolina’s intestacy laws will determine how your assets are distributed, which may or may not be in line your wishes.

Like all other states, South Carolina has very specific laws on what makes a last will and testament enforceable. You can rely on Beth Santilli Law to ensure that your will meets the required state laws. During your initial consultation, we will discuss your goals and guide you throughout the entire process.

Durable Financial Powers of Attorney

In the event that a person becomes incapacitated and can no longer make decisions regarding their own assets and property, access their bank accounts, and pay their bills, their durable power of attorney can grant another person the power to perform these tasks. Due to the fact that a durable financial power of attorney gives another control of your finances and property, it is essential to choose someone that has your best interests in mind.

Durable financial powers of attorney are immediately effective upon filing with the Register of Deeds Office regardless of whether the person is incapacitated or not, so choosing the right attorney in fact is of utmost importance.

Health Care Powers of Attorney

Just as a financial power of attorney gives another person the right to control your finances and assets, a health care power of attorney allows your agent to make health care decisions on your behalf. Health care powers of attorney only go into effect if you have a medical condition that prevents you from making decisions for yourself. You can also direct end of life care for certain circumstances in these documents.

Living Wills

In the event that you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or are in a vegetative state, a living will can express your preferences at the end of life. You can elect to decline nutrition and hydration if you so choose. You can give your agent the power to enforce or revoke your wishes in the event that you are unable to do so.

HIPAA Authorizations

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This Act provides protections for your data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. When you provide a person with authorization under HIPAA, it means that they can access your information, which may help them make medical and health decisions on your behalf.

Preparation of Deeds

Deed distribution is one of the final steps of estate planning and probate administration. It is extremely important, particularly if you have certain real property that you would like someone else to own after you pass away. During the estate planning process, these deeds can be prepared for your estate plan to help ensure that the transfer goes smoothly.

Probate

Probate is a legal process in which a court will control the estate of a deceased individual until the court can determine that a will legally exists or intestacy laws apply, that relevant parties have been notified, that the property in the estate has been valued and appraised, that the property is accounted for and eventually distributed, and that all creditors are paid.

Probate is often a long and frustrating process, but not all estates must go through it. When an estate falls below a certain threshold, it is considered a small estate and is expediated through probate. Additionally, certain types of assets are automatically transferred without the requirement of them to go through probate. Finally, a well drafted trust can help to avoid probate all together.

Conservatorships & Guardianships

It may be time to establish a conservatorship and/or guardianship if someone close to you is struggling to manage their medical affairs or finances. At Beth Santilli Law, we have the necessary experience to assist you when estate planning documents are insufficient or do not exist. The court can award you legal permission to help provide for a vulnerable adult’s or a minor child’s personal and financial needs.

Trust Administration

Many people that create trusts have the misconception that because they have established the trust, there is no need for oversight in the future. Although trusts can transfer assets to beneficiaries without the need for probate, trustees must still administer them, paying attention to all the details within the trust and fulfilling their fiduciary duties. Beth Santilli Law can help the trustee navigate this process.

Estate Litigation

You create a will, trusts, and other aspects of your estate plan with the hope that the transfer or your assets will go smoothly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes family members argue about your final wishes or may contest your will and other aspects of your plan. When this is the case, they must go through estate litigation where a judge will render a final decision on all disputes. Beth Santilli Law will work to diligently defend your interests in these cases.

Get Legal Help Today

Everyone should have a comprehensive estate plan, but no one should create one on their own. If you need help with your estate plan, speak with a Mt. Pleasant estate planning attorney at Beth Santilli Law, LLC today. We can advise on the most important elements to include in your plan and ensure that they are enforceable by the courts.

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