Everyone wants to make an impact on the world, to leave a legacy behind. Perhaps you hope to live on through the lessons you teach your children. Or the career path you pursue. Or the ministry you’ve devoted your life to.
But regardless of what this impact looks like, estate planning leaves your loved ones with one last gift: clarity about how to proceed in the wake of your death. By writing a will, you have done the work beforehand, giving those you’ve left behind a measure of peace and comfort during a difficult time. In their grief, your family won’t be left to organize your finances, manage your assets and sort out your estate.
West Law Firm, conveniently located in Moncks Corner, SC, can help with estate planning – and has done just that for families across South Carolina. But because our dedicated team understands that estate planning can be overwhelming and emotional, we’ve answered a few common questions to put your mind at ease. Take a look, then schedule an appointment to get started.
Get the contact information of any passengers as well. If there were any other witnesses present, ask if they’re willing to make a statement. If so, have them write it down or record them.
What Is a Will?
A will, short for “last will and testament,” is a legal document that takes effect after a person’s death, outlining the distribution of their property and assets. In the absence of a will, these assets are subject to South Carolina state laws that may not align with the decedent’s wishes.
Who Needs One?
Any legal adult can create a will, but it’s especially important in the following scenarios:
- If You Are Married
In most cases, your spouse will automatically inherit your estate if you die without a will. But to avoid unforeseen complications, or to designate beneficiaries in addition to your spouse, it’s best to make a will.
- If You Have Children
You can use a will to specify who you wish to be the guardian of your minor children. For children over 18, a will dictates who receives what, preventing confusion or potential animosity in the future.
- If You Have Significant Assets
For those with positive net worth, a will is used to determine how assets will be distributed.
Be sure to update your will after major life events, such as the following:
- Change in marital status
- Birth of children
- Death of beneficiary
How Do I Get Started?
West Law Firm is experienced in estate planning and can help with wills, probate, trusts and powers of attorney in Moncks Corner, SC and across South Carolina. In addition to working with our trusted estate planning team, understanding these basic terms used in estate planning can make the process less daunting.
- Beneficiary/Devisee: The person who receives assets, as designated by a will
- Guardian: The person appointed to care for children
- Heir: The blood relative who receives assets in the absence of a will
- Personal representative: The person who oversees the administration of the estate through the probate process
- Power of attorney: A legal document that allows a designated agent to have authority to make decisions/manage affairs if you are unable
- Probate: The legal process of transferring property or assets to beneficiaries or heirs
- Trust: Another form of estate planning that designates a third party to hold assets for the beneficiary; many different types serving different purposes
Our experienced estate planning attorneys are ready to answer any questions you may have and to make the process as simple as possible. To begin estate planning or to write a will today, contact West Law Firm at 843-761-5626 or click here.
About West Law Firm, P.A.
Founded by H. Norman West in 1945, West Law Firm has served the Lowcountry for nearly 75 years. Practice areas include personal injury, car wrecks, criminal defense, DUI defense, family law, wrongful death, land disputes, business litigation, probate and estate planning, and alternative dispute resolution.
West Law Firm, P.A.
207 Carolina Avenue
Moncks Corner SC 29461