Take your legal care vitamin – Make an Estate Plan
At McGrath Law Firm, we cover a variety of practice areas. Perhaps one of our most underrated areas of law is Estate Planning. A lot of people don’t want to talk about Estate Planning. It’s the “when things inevitably go wrong” plan and can be uncomfortable to think about. Estate Planning is important for every person, whether or not you have a lot of cash flow or assets. It acts as a preventative care vitamin to the inevitable problems your loved ones will face when you pass.
Like a vitamin, Estate Planning takes minimal effort, incurs minimal costs, but provides long-term solutions to unanticipated future risks. Vitamins are taken to deter sickness or even death; Estate Plans are made to deter family members from argument, financial ruin, or having to make difficult decisions about your death. Generally, Americans report that they value preventative care.
According to CNN, more than 50% of people in the United States take a daily dietary supplement or multivitamin. However, many people have failed to see that making an Estate Plan is just one preventative care practice that can greatly impact their families and their own futures. USA Today reports that only 36% of Americans have a Will. This means that 64% of Americans will not be able to say what is to happen to their children, pets, homes, finances, and many other assets that they have when they die.
What happens if you die without a Will or Estate Plan?
When a person dies without a Will, they die “intestate.” Generally, American laws of intestate succession favor a “traditional family.” With more than half of marriages failing, a rise in second or third marriages, a rise in adoption, legalization of same sex marriage, and other changes to the legal world of family dynamics, many families no longer fit into that “traditional family” category. A nontraditional family with step children, adopted children, or even family members who generally do not get along may be faced with great conflict when a person dies without a Will.
Even traditional families can suffer from intestate succession. For example, in South Carolina if a person dies intestate with a spouse and children, then ½ of the persons’ assets are left to the children. If the children are minors, then the court has the authority to appoint a third party as conservator of their interests. This means that a third party is controlling the money left to the children until they become adults and the spouse has effectively lost half of what they previously owned. Furthermore, an 18 year old may suddenly have access to large sums, which can create its own problems.
The Uniform Probate Code has been adopted in sixteen states. Under the Uniform Probate Code, parents of the decedent will inherit a share of the person’s estate even when there is a surviving spouse. You can imagine the controversy when a person’s spouse dies and their property goes to the Mother-in-Law.
What is involved when making an Estate Plan?
The American Psychological Association reports that the top two stress inducing areas of life are work and money. The third stress inducer is family. Our lives are centered around our finances and our families, yet 64% of Americans have no plan for how to care for their most precious assets when they die or become incapacitated.
At McGrath Law Firm, we provide an Estate Planning package that includes a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Last Will and Testament, and a Living Will. These documents will determine who makes decisions about a person’s health and finances in the event that a person is alive, but incapacitated; they will determine what measures will be taken to prolong life or give a peaceful death; and they will determine what happens to a person’s finances and assets upon death. Don’t let the State determine how you and your family will be cared for. Swallow your legal vitamin and make an appointment to see an attorney at McGrath Law Firm for your Estate Plan.
If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary conflict, prefer to be fully informed of your legal rights, and want your interests pursued and protected, we invite you to speak with our attorneys at McGrath Law Firm, P.A., located at 802 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464. The seasoned family law and divorce lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm, founded by former federal prosecutor, attorney Peter McGrath, will walk you through every step of the challenging process of Estate Planning to address your concerns and to achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. Call us to schedule your consultation at (843) 606-2755.