This post tackles Bluffton: Reasons for Having A Will the many questions that people have on writing a will. It is important to know how to make one that will be deemed valid by the court. Continue reading if you want to learn more.
South Carolina Laws on Writing a Will
For some people, writing a will may feel weird or unnecessary. But it is important to do so in order to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of, minus the hassle. It also guarantees that your money and property go to the right people in the event of your death.
Wills are too important to mess up. It is recommended that you hire a competent and experienced estate planning attorney in Bluffton, SC to help you out.
Hire Fraser Law Firm, LLC! Call Us at 843-681-9111!
South Carolina Laws on Writing a Will
Below are answers to 10 frequently asked questions about making a will based on the South Carolina Code of Laws.
What is a will?
A will is an important legal document that allows the testator (the person who is writing the will) to leave their property to people, organizations, and even pets, after their death.
A testator can be anyone of sound mind and not a minor. The will should be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses. South Carolina law does not acknowledge oral wills and holographic wills (written in the testator’s handwriting but not signed by any witness).
The will should contain the name/s of the beneficiaries and specify which items or amounts of money you wish to leave them. It should also name the executor of the will to make sure that your will is carried out.
What happens if I die without a will?
A person that dies without a will is called an intestate. According to South Carolina law, your estate will be distributed to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. This list continues with increasingly distant relatives, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins of any degree, and great grandparents. If the court exhausts this list to find that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will take your property.
Since the absence of a will also means that there is no executor, a judge appoints an administrator to process the transferring of your property to the rightful heirs in accordance with South Carolina’s intestacy law. This process is known as probate.
Do I need an attorney to prepare my will?
South Carolina law does not require you to hire a lawyer to make your will. You just have to make sure that your will meets the legal requirements of South Carolina Code of Laws to ensure that it is valid.
There are Do-It-Yourself will kits available as well as online wills or estate planning software. There are plenty of resources both online and offline on this topic.
Although you do not need one to make your will, an experienced attorney may be able to give you useful advice on estate planning, especially if you have plenty of assets.
Should my spouse and I have a joint will or separate wills?
Joint wills are accepted in South Carolina. However, estate planners strongly advise against them. There may be a lot of factors that can affect your will such as properties that are not jointly held, ex-spouses, children from previous relationships, etc. Therefore, it would make better sense for couples to create separate wills instead.
Who should act as a witness to a will?
Anyone can sign as a witness to your will provided that they are a disinterested witness or someone who is not a beneficiary.
South Carolina does not require you to notarize your will to make it legal. But it does allow you to get a self-proving affidavit which needs to be notarized. This affidavit states that you and your witnesses knew that you were signing the will. This speeds up probate because the court will no longer require your witnesses to show up and validate their signatures and the authenticity of the will.
Who should I name as my executor?
Your executor/s should be someone that you trust as it is up to them to carry out your wishes. There’s no rule against people named in your will as beneficiaries being your executors. Therefore, you can name your spouse or an adult child as the executor of your will.
Ideally, it is good to have joint executors, one from your family and another one professional, like a solicitor or accountant. This way, your family member can deal with possible disagreements or sensitive issues, while the solicitor handles the legal work.
How do I leave specific items to specific heirs?
You need to be very specific in your will, especially for certain items that you want to give to certain people. You can actually write a letter of instruction along with your will. This document can go into detail about which items go to whom as well as other important information such as account numbers, passwords, etc.
Where should I keep my will?
Your will should be kept somewhere safe yet accessible. The probate court requires your original will before they can process your estate, and if they cannot locate your will, then it would be useless.
You can keep it in a personal safe at home or a bank safe deposit box. However, the latter will require a court order in order to grant access to it. Another option is to ask your executor to keep it for you.
How often does a will need to be updated?
Only you get to decide if you want to update your will or not. Just bear in mind that the only version of your will that would be acknowledged by the court is the most current valid one at the time of your death.
Most of the time, people update their will if a major event happens in their lives such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or executor, a significant purchase or inheritance, and so on.
Who has the right to contest my will?
If someone should challenge the legal validity of your will, whether in part or as a whole, then they are contesting your will. This is usually done when a beneficiary feels slighted by your terms or if they believe that your wishes go against local probate laws.
Fraser Law Firm, LLC in Bluffton, SC Can Help You
Our team of experienced lawyers can guide you from beginning to end to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
Call Fraser Law Firm, LLC at 843-681-9111 Today!
Fraser Law Firm, LLC
94 Main Street, Suite D,
Hilton Head, SC 29926
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