Estate Planning & WillsThe attorneys at the Law Office of Gem McDowell in Mt. Pleasant, SC work with individuals and families to create estate planning documents. Gem and Lauren Turowetz help clients draw up and amend estate planning documents like wills, trusts, advance care directives, powers of attorney, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and more. They work with clients in Mt. Pleasant, Charleston, and nearby areas.
Estate Planning Is For EveryoneEveryone knows they should get a will, but many people plan on doing it “some day.” After all, no one enjoys thinking about what will happen upon death or incapacitation. But, there is no perfect time to do your estate planning, there is only the right time – now. Here are some common reasons for not wanting to do estate planning, and why you should anyway.
WRONG: I’m not old/sick/rich/etc. so I don’t need estate planning.
Estate planning is something that every adult needs to do, period. It’s not about splitting up millions of dollars, but about creating a plan so that your wishes are clear and can be carried out after your death. Having a comprehensive estate plan will give you peace of mind and is a gift to your family. When the time comes, they won’t have to guess, worry, or argue about what you would have wanted—they’ll know for sure.
WRONG: I can just use online forms.
The Internet is a wonderful thing and it can do a lot, but it cannot replace the insight and advice of an experienced attorney. Unless you have an extremely simple estate – no spouse, no children, no house, no investments or other financial assets – it’s recommended that you do not use online forms to create these documents, as they may not hold up if challenged in court, or may lead to results that you did not anticipate or want.
WRONG: It’s too expensive.
Estate planning is not as expensive as you think. To put it in perspective, buying a Starbucks latte every day for a year is more than double the cost of basic estate planning documents.
What We Do: Comprehensive Estate PlanningHere are four common estate planning documents that you may want in your plan.
Will. This is the cornerstone of any estate plan. A will outlines what will happen to someone’s estate – that is, possessions like a house, car, investments (or debt), etc. – and who will care for any surviving minor children.
Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney (aka advanced health care directives). A living will describes a person’s wishes in case they become incapacitated, including what kind of medical care they want, whether or not to resuscitate, and how to manage pain.
Power of Attorney. A power of attorney gives one person the legal right to act on behalf of another person.
Trust. A trust allows one party (the trustee) to manage or hold assets for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary). There are many advantages to having a trust, one of which is that a properly constructed trust can help you avoid certain taxes.Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of estate planning, but both can be very important in determining how assets are handled and transferred upon divorce or death. Depending on the circumstances, pre- and post-nuptial agreements can even take precedence over a will.
Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Pre-nuptial agreements are signed before the marriage, while post-nuptial agreements can be signed at any time after. Couples who are married or getting married should consider drawing up an agreement if either or both partners have substantial assets, children, and/or a former spouse.In addition to creating the documents you need based on your situation, Gem and Lauren will also look at the beneficiaries of your existing insurance policies and retirement accounts and consider the tax implications of your estate plan.