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South Carolina Estate Planning

Estate planning involves more than just planning for your own death. Done right, it can also give you greater control of your financial, legal and medical affairs while you're alive. If you're at least 18 years old, living in South Carolina and "of sound mind" (meaning you're capable of reasonable thinking and decision making), then you should speak to an estate planning attorney today to learn more about how you can benefit from some basic estate planning documents.

Estate Planning FAQ

Why do I need to think about estate planning if I'm still young?

Many reasons! People mistakenly think that estate planning is just for the very old or wealthy, but that's wrong. Let's look at the most common estate planning documents and how they can benefit you:

  • A last will and testament lets you explain how your assets should be distributed after your death. Although we may hope we'll live to a very old age, accidents and unexpected illnesses happen. A will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children and helps you control how your money, real estate and possessions are distributed. If you die without a will, a judge will decide what happens to your children, and your estate will be distributed according to South Carolina intestacy laws.
  • A financial power of attorney (POA) lets you empower someone (your attorney in fact) to undertake certain legal and financial actions on your behalf. A POA can be used to authorize your accountant to discuss your taxes with the IRS or have your spouse sign a real estate contract on your behalf. POAs can be very narrow in scope—allowing someone to perform one action on one day—or much more broad. A power of attorney can also be written so it only goes into effect if you're incapacitated.
  • A healthcare power of attorney and a living will are two medical estate planning documents. The healthcare POA lets you name someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated, and the living will lets you explain your end-of-life treatment wishes.

What are the legal requirements to create a last will and testament in South Carolina?

To create a will in South Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The will must be in writing and signed by you in the presence of two witnesses who will also sign the will.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of distributing an estate according to instructions left in the last will and testament. In South Carolina, each county has a probate court. The probate court oversees the filing of the last will and testament, and the appointment of a personal representative (also known as an executor) to manage distribution of the estate.

Find & Hire Local South Carolina Estate Planning Attorneys

Call at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page for help locating estate planning lawyers and probate attorneys in South Carolina. Our free, no-obligation lawyer referral service can quickly connect you with attorneys across the state, including lawyers in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Greenville.