Most people know that estate planning is important, but many also believe that a will is going to provide them with all the protection they are looking for. While wills are certainly a critical part of any estate plan, they are not the only important portion. Other tools are available for estate planning, such as trusts, which provide greater protections and help ensure your interests are protected in life, and upon your passing.

An experienced will and trust attorney at Beth Santilli Law, LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC can help you create an estate plan so your wishes are upheld. Contact us today to request a consultation.

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Wills

Wills are necessary to guarantee that your final wishes are realized after your death. If you do not have a will in place, the manner in which your estate is distributed to your beneficiaries will depend on the intestacy laws of South Carolina. Intestacy laws give preference to your closest relatives and the more immediate their relationship to you, the greater share of your estate they will receive. The way the law divides your estate may not be the manner in which you had hoped, so a will can make sure that does not happen.

However, while wills are a cornerstone of your estate plan, they also have many limitations. A will does not come into effect until after your death. This legal document will not help manage your affairs in the event that you become incapacitated by illness or injury. A will also still needs to go through probate, meaning that your beneficiaries will have to go through the lengthy probate process before receiving their share of the estate.

Trusts

Trusts are considered legal entities involving at least three parties: the person who makes the trust, the trustee who manages the trust, and the trust beneficiary who will receive assets placed within the trust. You may create a trust and manage a trust for your own benefit.

Trusts bring several benefits that wills do not provide:

Avoid Probate. Trusts are typically distributed to beneficiaries immediately following a person’s death, without the need to go through the lengthy probate process or at least minimize the need for probate.
Distribute Property in Stages. Trusts can distribute assets to its beneficiaries in a set schedule that can help to avoid windfalls to a beneficiary who may not be ready to manage their full inheritance.
Incapacitation. Depending on how the trust is created, it can also provide many benefits in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away.

Get Legal Help Today

If you have not yet created an estate plan, one of our knowledgeable will and trust attorneys can help. At Beth Santilli Law, LLC, we can review the facts of your case, help you identify what is most important to you, and create a plan that will protect the interests of you and your beneficiaries. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with an attorney and to learn how we can help.



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