Lancaster Wills Attorney

Lancaster Wills Attorney

Lancaster Wills Lawyer

Creating an estate plan in Lancaster, SC is integral to the future of both you and your loved ones. Wills detail all your personal wishes for when you are no longer able to make them, helping you feel confident that your estate and your family will be cared for the way you intend. Having a will is imperative for when you pass away or become incapacitated. Otherwise, the state is given jurisdiction to decide what they believe is right, according to South Carolina law. If you need assistance drafting, modifying, or executing a will, talk to an estate planning lawyer at Mack & Mack Attorneys.

Trusted Estate Planning Assistance in South Carolina

Creating a will is one of the most important steps you can take for your future. Because of how significant your estate plan is to your life, it’s important that you draft it with someone who can ensure that it is formed properly. At Mack & Mack Attorneys, legal knowledge is genetic. The Mack family has been providing legal services for South Carolina residents for over eight decades. Our firm is comprised of accomplished attorneys who have continually offered exceptional representation in different legal areas. For all your estate planning and will needs, Mack & Mack Attorneys can give you the guidance you need.

Lancaster Wills Attorney

Understanding Wills and What They Do

To create a will that most closely represents your unique needs, it’s essential that you understand what it is meant to do. A will is a legal document, most often part of an estate plan, that outlines your wishes for how your estate should be taken care of after you pass. It can also be used if you become incapacitated and are no longer able to speak for or take care of yourself. Wills encompass essential requests such as:

  • Guardianship designations for dependents
  • Funeral wishes
  • How assets should be divided between beneficiaries

If you do not create a legally binding will or estate plan, your final requests cannot be honored during probate.

What Should You Put in Your Will?

When drafting a will with one of our estate planning lawyers, we can help make sure that you address significant matters properly. The most important details that should be included in your will involve the following:

Your Essential Personal Information

While most people would include this anyway, it’s crucial to note that you should include all important identifying information in your will. This helps the state validate that it was written by you and is your personal request. If you decide to work with a lawyer to create a will, they can help show you which information is necessary and which can be left out.

Executor of the Estate

All wills must have a section that appoints an executor of the estate. The executor of the estate is responsible for carrying out all the instructions listed in the will, in addition to verifying the will itself in probate court once you pass away. They will handle all financial and legal matters regarding the estate that was left behind and distribute property based on your specific wishes. It’s always smart to list a backup executor in case something happens to your first one and you need another person that you can trust.

Assets You Want to Distribute and Their Beneficiaries

The main job of any will is to identify the different assets that you want to pass on to your loved ones. To do this properly, you should list all the important properties that you would like distributed as well as their varying values. Then, you should detail all the beneficiaries for whom you would like to receive property and the exact assets that they should be given. You also have the power to outline how assets are administered and when it is done.

Guardianship Preferences

It’s critical that any parents or guardians detail guardianship designations if they have any dependents who could possibly be left behind. These designations can be for children who are minors, relatives with disabilities that you care for, and sometimes even pets. With instructions outlining how to take care of your children, you can feel comfortable knowing that they will be okay if something happens to you.

Funeral Requests and Other Personal Wishes

Many people have specific preferences for how they want their funeral to be carried out or how they wish to be buried. If you have requests regarding what happens to you, your estate, or your family once you are gone, make sure that you add them to your will. Your lawyer can guide you through the drafting process and show you where to include these kinds of requests.

How to Make Sure That Your Will Is Legally Binding

Every state has varying requirements that dictate what a valid will looks like. If your will does not meet the mandated requirements implemented by the state, they will not be able to recognize it as a valid last testament. To ensure that your will is legally binding, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old, married, or considered emancipated.
  • Be of “sound mind.”
  • Have it on paper, in type.
  • Sign your will in front of at least two witnesses.
  • Have your witnesses sign your will.

Last Wills and Testaments vs. Living Wills

There are two forms of wills that are commonly used in South Carolina. One is known as a “last will and testament,” while the other is referred to as a “living will.” The type of will that you choose to create will depend on what you think better suits your situation. There are certain critical aspects to know about these two wills:

  1. Last Wills and Testaments
    Last wills and testaments are generally what most people think of when they hear the term “will.” A last will and testament is the main piece of an estate plan and lists the personal wishes of an individual for after they pass away. In these kinds of wills, you can explain how you would like your estate divided, your funeral handled, and how your family should be taken care of. A last will and testament does not become active until the creator has passed away. These wills are used during the probate process to instruct the executor on how to administer the estate according to your wishes instead of state law.
  2. Living Wills
    A living will is very different from a last will and testament. In a living will, an individual can discuss important medical preferences and decisions they would like to be made in case they become seriously ill. Living wills become active once a medical professional has validated that an individual is incapacitated due to their condition. If you create a living will, you can detail what medical procedures you are okay with and which you would like denied. In this kind of will, you cannot discuss preferences for your estate or beneficiaries.

Why Do You Need a Will in South Carolina?

When an individual passes away in South Carolina, their estate must go through the probate process. This is where your will becomes essential. Without an estate plan or will that is left behind, the state of South Carolina is required to distribute property according to intestacy law. Intestacy law simply states that if there is no legal estate plan in place, assets that need to be “disposed of” must be given to their surviving heirs. This means that, even if you had certain wishes, the court could not recognize them because they were not legally documented.

How Can Mack & Mack Attorneys Help?

Both estate planning and estate administration are complex. On top of all the personal information and sentiment that go into forming a will, there are also a great many legal aspects that you must address. Working with a law firm that has experience in estate planning law can help ease the burden that planning for your future can create. Our estate planning attorneys have comprehensive insight on creating and administering wills and can assist you in navigating the entire experience.

Here’s how our team can help you with your legal concerns regarding wills:

  1. Drafting a Will
    When you decide to take the step to create your estate plan and draft a will, there are a plethora of important details that you must consider. Our trained probate lawyers at Mack & Mack Attorneys have immense experience with estate planning law, allowing them to help you organize your requests and document them properly. The drafting aspect of the estate planning process is one of the most critical, as any small errors can result in your will being legally invalid. By hiring one of our lawyers to assist you in drafting your will, you can trust that all your wishes will be documented correctly.
  2. Modifying a Will
    Once a last will and testament has been finalized, an individual must go through the same legal proceedings that were used to form the will if they wish to make any changes. This is because once a will has been finalized, it is a legally binding document that cannot be changed simply by editing the terms. Instead, you’ll need to work with an attorney who can help you create amendments. These amendments will be added to your will once they go through the proper legal proceedings that can validate them. Common amendments include changing the executor of the estate, adding new beneficiaries, and modifying funeral wishes.
  3. Administering a Will
    If you were assigned as the executor of an estate, your responsibilities can seem daunting. From dividing property to interacting with beneficiaries to paying estate taxes, it can be a challenge to keep up with the probate process. Luckily, our Lancaster estate lawyers are here to help. With years of experience working in the estate administration process, Mack & Mack Attorneys have the comprehensive knowledge needed to assist those who are executing estates. Our attorneys can help you validate the will in court, perform estate maintenance, and keep up with taxes. We can even represent you in court if disputes occur.

How Are Wills and Trusts Different?

If you decide to create an estate plan, you’ll be given plenty of options to choose how you want your estate administered. Many people find themselves stuck between choosing a will or a trust. To choose the plan that is most beneficial, you need to know the difference between the two. As mentioned above, a will is a document that is most often used to detail instructions for an estate after an individual passes.

A trust, however, is an agreement between two parties that transfers the ownership of assets until it is time for them to be administered. Trusts differ from wills because they do not have to go through the probate process and are most often used for select assets. They also become active as soon as the grantor signs the agreement. This means that, once a trust is put in place, the trustee becomes the “owner” of the assets and is responsible for taking care of them. In many cases, individuals have a last will and testament for their general assets and then use trusts to protect the more valuable ones. Both trusts and wills can be part of an estate plan that includes other documents. Each is made to ensure that the specific distribution requests of an individual are met when they pass.

Your Lancaster Wills Lawyers and Law Firm

When you create an estate plan, it’s critical to do so with the help of someone who has knowledge of the process. At Mack & Mack Attorneys, our legal services are made to solve the unique concerns of each client we talk to. With extensive insight, experience, and skill surrounding estate planning law, our lawyers can help you draft, change, or execute a will in South Carolina. We know that estate planning can be intimidating, especially when you’re considering what happens after you’re no longer here. Our goal is to offer you intimate and strategic guidance that makes planning for your future as simple as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about our estate planning and will drafting services, contact our staff at Mack & Mack Attorneys today.


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