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Charleston Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Friday, September 7, 2018

Is it Better to Have a Will or a Trust?

A comprehensive estate plan can include both a will and a trust. Everyone needs a will as part of their estate plan. However, whether or not you want to utilize a trust depends on several factors, including your estate planning goals and your financial situation. Our South Carolina wills and trusts lawyers review all options during the estate planning process to determine the documents you need as part of your estate plan to protect yourself, your family, and your property.

Why Do I Need a Will?

While there are many benefits of using trust agreements, there are several things that a trust does not allow you to do. For example, while you can name beneficiaries for your property in both a will and a trust agreement, you cannot name a guardian for your minor children in a trust. You must have a will to appoint a guardian for your minor children.

A will also allows you to name a personal representative for your probate estate. The personal representative is the person who administers your estate and ensures your final wishes are carried out according to the terms of your will.

If you die without a will, the intestate laws for South Carolina dictate who inherits your property and the percentage of your estate distributed to each heir. Dying with a will complicates the probate process for your loved ones, especially if you have minor children who inherit an interest in your real estate. If you do not have a will, your heirs may face an expensive, time-consuming procedure for administering your estate.

Why Do I Want to Consider a Trust?

Everyone should have a will; however, you may or may not need a trust. Our South Carolina wills and trusts lawyers review the various trust agreements with clients to determine if a trust benefits a client and his or her family.

Trusts allow you to do certain things that you cannot accomplish with a will. For example, you can avoid probating some property by placing the property in a trust agreement. Trust agreements are also private, whereas a probate estate is a matter of public record.

With a trust agreement, you can protect your property from your creditors and your heirs’ creditors. You can also use trust agreements to provide for the care of a family member with special needs. Trust agreements can be very important for protecting governmental benefits for a person with disabilities. A trust agreement can even provide for the care and upkeep of a beloved pet.

While a will allows you to appoint a conservator to manage the assets of a minor, a trust agreement allows you to appoint a trustee to administer the assets for a minor without court intervention and supervision. In addition, some trusts can help you avoid estate taxes in ways that a regular will cannot accomplish.

Contact Our South Carolina Wills and Trusts Attorneys for More Information

A comprehensive estate plan includes several legal documents, including a will and one or more trust agreements. Schedule a consult with one of our South Carolina wills and trusts lawyers today. Our South Carolina wills and trusts attorneys will help you evaluate your goals and develop an estate plan that accomplishes those goals.


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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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