Estate Planning & Probate Administration

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Wills and Trusts One of the most important items you can provide of your family and loved ones is pre-planning the division of your property and assets at your death. Whether your property includes real property, including a family home, vacation homes and commercial property, businesses, trusts, savings, bank accounts or cherished personal items, it is important that you pre-plan to protect these assets as they are transferred to your loved ones.

Today’s families are often blended families and require careful planning to ensure your wishes are fulfilled. For some individuals, a simple will may be all one needs and for others, a trust may be needed. The type of assets you own and the dynamics of your family are issues we will discuss in an estate planning meeting prior to the execution of your will.

The The Law Office of Shannon K. Burnett can help you plan the division of your estate and establish trusts in advance so your wishes will be realized in the event of death or mental infirmity.

Probate Administration
The Probate Courts of South Carolina provide an orderly method to handle the transfer of your assets pursuant to your wishes. We can assist your Personal Representative to ensuing that your assets are protected from creditors to the extent that the law provides.

Q.) What is Estate Planning?
A.) Estate Planning includes making your wishes known regarding your estate through a Will, Trust, or other testamentary transfers and creating advance directives such as a Health Care Power of Attorney to ensure your health care desires are known and a General Power of Attorney to establish an Agent to act on your behalf. Your “estate” refers to all property owned by you, including, but not limited to, real estate, bank accounts, stocks, life insurance policies and personal property (i.e. automobiles, jewelry, etc.)

Q.) What if I died without a Will?
A.) If you were to die without a Will, the Court will use the default law, the law written by the legislature, to determine how to distribute your estate, which may not reflect your actual wishes. It has been our experience that a poorly drafted will, or failing to provide one, costs more your family more to transfer your assets than the cost of hiring our firm to create an Estate Planning Package.

Q.) How much does a Will cost?

A.) A Simple Will is a flat rate of $250.00. However, to fully assist you and your loved ones in your estate planning needs we recommend our Estate Planning Package that includes a Simple Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Revocation of Power of Attorney, if applicable, for $650.00. The fee includes the filing fees for the Durable Power of Attorney and a Revocation of Power of Attorney.  For couples with similar estate plans, the Estate Planning Package is $1,100.00.

Q.) What is the difference between a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A.) A Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney are both considered “Advance Directives” and provide guidance for your others regarding health care decisions for you in the future. The difference is that a Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone called an Agent to make health care decisions for you, whereas a Living Will is a declaration that allows you to express your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures.

Q.) What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A.) A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an Agent who has the authority to handle your finances and the care of your person. This Agent acts in your best interest. If the Power is Durable, the Agent can continue to serve if you become incapacitated. A Power of Attorney can be general covering virtually all issues you control for yourself, or limited, such as a Health Care Power of Attorney that covers health decisions. This is also known as an Advance Directive and can be a very important document to allow your family to care for you.

If you’d like to learn more about our estate planning services, practice or attorneys, please contact our offices at 803-786-1758.