Family shelter

Why make an estate plan?

You have worked hard to establish your career and home. Your family is your first priority, but when it comes to protecting them after you are no longer here, you may feel confused about the best way to go about this. You want to leave your family with good memories and a lasting legacy, but inheritance laws seem so confusing. Estate planning sounds complicated and expensive. It doesn’t need to be. At Stratton and Reynolds, we can help you cut through the complexities and get down to what really matters to you. We genuinely enjoy helping our clients create an estate plan that fits the unique needs of their family.

We can help

One thing that we have learned over the years is families are complex and no two are alike. Our attorneys have helped clients who have young children, adult children, and stepchildren. We have advised clients on the best way to deal with estate planning in the case of divorce, widowhood, and remarriage. We find it incredibly satisfying to help our clients work through the complexities of South Carolina inheritance law and understand exactly where their assets will go.

Estate Planning can actually be broken down into some manageable steps. Some of these steps are easier and go more smoothly with the help of an experienced attorney. Others require some work on your part. Our attorneys will work with you every step of the way, assuring your legacy as well as maximum benefit to your family. Some steps we recommend taking include:

  • Take stock of your assets and create an inventory of what you own. Include real estate, vehicles, stocks, life insurance policies, and valuables. Some of our clients have been shocked to realize just how much they have.
  • Account for your family’s needs. Do you have a family member with special needs? Do you have children or grandchildren that you would like to help with educational expenses? Do you have pets who will require care? Do you have minor children who will need a guardian? Do you need to plan for long term care?
  • Establish documents. These include wills and/or trusts, durable powers of attorney for financial and health care needs, and all of the ancillary documents needed to support them. If you have minor or disabled children you will need be sure these documents appoint a guardian for them.
  • Think about beneficiaries. Be sure your assets are going to the people that you want to have them. It is a good practice to have a back up beneficiary just in case. Minor children shoulw have a trustee to manage their assets.
  • Pay attention to estate tax laws. Federal taxes apply to relatively large estates. At Stratton and Reynolds, we stay abreast of changes in tax and inheritance laws so you can be assured that your estate plan will work within current laws.
  • If you own a business, think about who will take over for you.
  • Plan to reassess. The very best of estate plans can fall apart if they are not updated as life changes happen. All families experience changes like the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, divorce, or marriage. It is important to update your estate when life changes happen. Plan to take time about yearly to take stock and update.

Look for future blog posts with more information about each of these steps. If you have questions about any aspect of estate planning, call Stratton and Reynolds today at 803-358-7214 or complete the contact form to schedule your time to talk with one of our experienced attorneys.

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