Charleston Wills Lawyers

A will, also known as a last will and testament, is the basic document needed to ensure that your estate is passed on according to your wishes after your death. If you own anything at all, from a home to vehicles to other personal property, you have an “estate.” Without a will, your property will go through probate and be distributed under South Carolina’s inheritance laws by the court with no input from you. Wills also provide other benefits that can protect you and your family. They are especially beneficial to family members at a time when they may be under stress and emotional upset.

Seibert Law Firm provides estate planning tools and methods that can be instrumental in preserving your legacy and ensuring that your family has clarity and peace of mind. Our Charleston attorneys can help you draft and finalize your will as well as create other important documents to cover various estate issues, based on your needs and goals. We provide one-on-one personalized service from start to finish. 

Discuss your needs with a Charleston will attorney at Seibert Law Firm in a free case evaluation by contacting us via email or at (843) 428-6360

What Protections Does a Will Provide?

Wills provide basic protections for distributing your property according to your wishes instead of according to state law.  They are covered under the South Carolina Code of Laws Title 62 called the Probate Code. This means that you remain in control of this issue even after you are gone and can give your family clear instructions on how property should be passed on. Thus, it can eliminate family stress and disagreement that could result in further time, expenses, and the duress of probate battles.

Wills allow you to do the following:

  • Name the heirs who will receive property/assets, in order of priority and in what shares.
  • Name any friends, charities, or other groups to whom you wish to pass on certain shares of your property and what they are to receive.
  • Name anyone to whom you may wish to make a gift.
  • Make gifts into a trust as well as name a trustee to administer the property for your survivors.
  • Name a personal representative to manage your estate upon your passing and specify his/her powers and duties.
  • Name a guardian for any minor children you leave behind as well as designate that person or someone else to act as the conservator of the estate you leave them.

The only requirements for a valid will in South Carolina are that you must be 18 years of age or older and be of “sound mind.” Wills also must be finalized by your signing it in front of two witnesses and having the witnesses sign as well.  Wills can be made “self-proving” by both you and your witnesses signing an affidavit before a notary that attests to your identities and understanding that you were signing a will. This step can streamline the probate procedure that requires your will to be validated by the court. 

Common Mistakes in Drafting a Will

When attempting to draft a will, many individuals make mistakes that can significantly impact the distribution of their estate and the financial well-being of their loved ones. Some of the most common errors include:

  • Failure to Update the Will: Life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, and acquiring or losing significant assets necessitate updates to your will. Failing to do so can lead to assets being distributed in ways that no longer reflect your wishes.
  • Vague Language: Using unclear or ambiguous terms can lead to disputes among heirs and potential litigation, delaying the probate process.
  • Choosing the Wrong Executor: Selecting an executor who lacks the willingness, capability, or understanding to manage your estate effectively can complicate the probate process.
  • Not Addressing All Assets: Overlooking or intentionally omitting certain assets can result in unintended distribution outcomes under state law.
  • DIY Estate Planning: Doing it yourself without proper legal guidance can lead to errors in formality or substance, rendering the will invalid or ineffective.

How a Charleston Wills Attorney Can Help

A Charleston wills attorney has the experience and knowledge to help you avoid these and other mistakes. Working with a professional ensures that:

  • Your Will Meets All Legal Requirements: An attorney will ensure that your will complies with South Carolina law, making it less likely to be contested.
  • All Assets Are Considered: An experienced attorney can help you conduct a comprehensive review of your assets to ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Your Wishes Are Clearly Expressed: They can help you articulate your wishes clearly and precisely, avoiding the ambiguity that can lead to disputes.
  • Updates Are Made as Necessary: An attorney can remind you to review and update your will periodically or when significant life changes occur, ensuring that your estate plan always reflects your current wishes.
  • Peace of Mind: Perhaps most importantly, working with an attorney gives you the peace of mind that your estate will be handled according to your wishes, and your loved ones will be cared for as you intend.

By addressing these common pitfalls with the help of a skilled Charleston wills attorney, you can ensure that your final wishes are honored and your loved ones are protected in your absence.

Questions or Concerns About Wills? Contact Us.

Seibert Law Firm can help you with all aspects of creating and implementing your will and updating wills as your circumstances change. We also represent heirs, beneficiaries, and other interested parties in will disputes before probate courts. 

Connect with our firm concerning your will by contacting us at (843) 428-6360

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