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Charleston Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Is a Handwritten Trust Legal in South Carolina?

A trust is a vital part of an estate plan. They give you the ability to legally keep assets safe after death until they are ready to be distributed. Many people set up a trust so they can leave assets to children who might be minors. They are also set up so an inheritance can be passed down to children at separate intervals in their lives. Trusts are also advantageous because they are private and do not have to be shown to a probate court. A trust should only be created with the guidance of an experienced wills and trusts attorney.

Trusts are managed by an appointed trustee that is named in a will. It is recommended, but not required, that a trustee or executor is also a resident of South Carolina. The most common type of trust is known as a testamentary trust, which becomes valid once the last will comes into effect. South Carolina law says anyone who is over the age of 18 with sound mind and memory can create a trust. Trusts that are created as a result of fraud or some other negative pressure are not legally valid.  

What Should I Know About Creating A Trust?

The laws concerning estate planning can be confusing, and any problems or questions will result in a lot of headaches for family and friends who might be named as a beneficiary, or included in a trust as a trustee. Having an attorney help you through this process is key.

One of the most confusing estates planning laws concerns typed and handwritten trusts and wills. Some states allow handwritten wills, while others do not. If you create a handwritten will in a state where the practice is legal and then move to South Carolina, it is usually valid in the state as well.  

Trusts can be typed or handwritten, but must be properly dated and signed in the presence of competent witnesses in order to be valid.

The witnesses must sign the trust to acknowledge that it was lawfully created and that it is your estate plan. Their signatures attest that you were of sound mind and memory and did not create the trust under any type of duress. Witnesses must also be present if you are looking for someone else to sign in your name. All trusts are required to be properly notarized in order to be in compliance with the law.

What Should I Do After Creating A Trust?

After signing, all trusts should be copied and given to your attorney, the executor, and to anyone else who might have played a part in your estate planning. The original document should be stored in a safe but easily accessible place so it can be quickly retrieved after death.

If you or someone you love are thinking about creating a trust, an experienced trust attorney will be able to walk you through the process and make sure that your last wishes are accurately represented.  Schedule a consult with one of our South Carolina will and trust lawyers to determine your best estate-plan.

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Wiles Law Firm, LLC helps clients with their estate planning needs in Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding areas such as West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and John's Island.

Information on this website is not legal advice. Further, viewing of the enclosed information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wiles Law Firm, LLC. Matters will be handled by attorneys who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 852 Lowcountry Blvd., Ste. 101, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. M. Emerson Wiles, III is the attorney responsible for this advertisement.

Any result Wiles Law Firm, LLC may achieve on behalf of one client in one particular matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients. Please contact a South Carolina estate planning attorney or one of our attorneys with Wiles Law Firm, LLC for a consultation regarding your unique estate plan.

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