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Charleston Estate & Trust Attorneys

Charleston, South Carolina, a lovely place to live, is also a wonderful retirement location. It boasts a pleasant climate, Southern hospitality galore, and many intriguing natural and cultural attractions. In addition to being a harbor city, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet the Atlantic ocean, Charleston has a number of lakes with plentiful water views and entertainment possibilities. Visitors and residents alike also enjoy the exquisite Boone Hall Plantation where moss-draped oaks create a lengthy and delightful corridor and revel in taking historical, harbor, food, and “ghost” tours of the quaint city. Art and music abound in Charleston, particularly during the Spoleto Festival each spring when, for more than 2 weeks, all kinds of music -- from opera to symphonies to jazz -- fill the air day and night.

Estate Planning Services for Clients Throughout Charleston

If you live in Charleston, estate planning needn’t be a chore when you work with Wiles Law Firm, LLC, located in Mt. Pleasant. We are a practice of skilled, experienced, responsive wills and trusts attorneys. With us you will be able to plan for an easy and/or exciting retirement while enjoying the pleasure of planning to leave your loved ones a comfortable nest egg.

Planning for Retirement and Inheritance of Retirement Funds

Among the many important tasks undertaken by Wiles Law Firm is assisting individuals and families in preparing both for retirement and for their beneficiaries inheritance of any remaining retirement funds. Although IRAs and 401(k)s are very popular retirement accounts, they both require that, once you inherit them, you pay income tax whenever you make withdrawals. When you come in to consult with our estate planning and retirement trust attorneys, we will answer all of your questions regarding these two types of retirement accounts and tell you about options that may be better suited to your needs.

Various Ways of Accessing IRA Funds

There are several ways to withdraw money from an inherited IRA, including:

  • Withdrawing the whole amount at once as soon as possible
  • Withdrawing all the money within 5 years after your benefactor’s death
  • Withdrawing the money incrementally over your expected lifespan

Withdrawing the money more slowly has two advantages: you will pay less tax every year and you will have more time for tax-deferred growth of your assets. For this reason, many retirement attorneys advise that you use the third method.

Wiles Attorneys Have a Fresh Idea: the Stand-Alone Retirement Trust

At Wiles Law Firm, we think outside the box and often recommend an alternative to IRAs and 401(k)s -- the Stand-Alone Retirement Trust (SRT). As you may already be aware, trusts are frequently used as cost-effective tools in planning for retirement. The SRT is a special type of revocable living trust. The advantage of an SRT is that it is carefully crafted to protect your retirement account for the benefit of your loved ones until after you pass away. Creating an SRT also allows you to establish subtrusts within the document for each of your individual beneficiaries, including your spouse.

The Big Question About SRTs -- and the Big Answer

You may ask how it is possible to put your retirement accounts into a trust while you are alive, wondering: Isn’t this illegal? The answer is that although it is illegal to put your retirement accounts into a trust during your lifetime, there is a legal loophole that can greatly benefit your loved ones. You can simply name a trust as the beneficiary of the SRT. By taking this action you can protect your retirement assets from taxation, while also controlling their distribution after your death. It should be noted that an SRT can be designated as either a primary or a secondary beneficiary. 

Why You Need Wiles Law Firm to Set Up a Workable SRT in Charleston

Setting up an SRT, or actually any type of trust, is a project best undertaken by a savvy trust attorney. Reasons that this is necessary include: [1] the variables among different types of trusts are complicated and can be quite confusing [2] if an SRT is not established carefully, your beneficiaries may be responsible for paying both income and estate taxes. Since your goal is to make the inheritance you leave as substantial as possible, not working with a knowledgeable attorney when setting up an SRT is counter-productive. 

Mistakes Can Be Costly

If the trust agreement is flawed, for example, your beneficiaries may have to withdraw the whole account balance within 5 years of your death. It is also possible that an improperly crafted SRT may result in income tax problems for some or all of your beneficiaries. Problems may also arise after you die when your living trust must be divided into shares. It may be unclear whether the separate account rule remains available to each inheriting party. With the assistance of Wiles Law Firm’s astute trust attorneys, you will be guided to name each of your heirs as a separate beneficiary or to create a separate trust for each one. Otherwise, you risk your personal priorities being overridden by laws you were not aware of. 

Wiles Law Firm Is Here to Help

Whether you are leaving the totality of your retirement funds to heirs, or are leaving some or all of this money to charities with goals important to you, our well-seasoned trust attorneys will draft your SRT to your specifications and correctly establish designated shares on the retirement account beneficiary form, rather than in the SRT agreement, to ensure that the trust performs exactly as it’s supposed to. If you live in Charleston and are looking to establish or improve your estate plan by adding a stand-alone retirement trust, we are fully prepared to protect you and your loved ones from dangers inherent in sloppy work or imprecise wording. We offer you comprehensive, personal service by talented legal professionals. Call for a consultation or fill out one of the convenient forms on our website.


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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852 Lowcountry Blvd., Suite 101, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
| Phone: 843-718-0232

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