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Charleston Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Broken Heart Syndrome and What It Can Mean for Your Estate Plan


When spouses pass away in quick succession, how might it impact the estate plan?

George and Barbara Bush had a storied romance spanning 73 years of marriage.  The couple met when Barbara was just 16 and George 17 years old. From then on, the couple went on to lead the country with immense class, becoming the longest married couple in presidential history. Barbara Bush passed away this past April with her husband by her side, and eight months later the nation mourned as George H.W.
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Friday, November 30, 2018

Learning From Stan Lee’s Estate Planning Issues

How can I plan for my incapacity later in life?

Stan Lee, famed creator of Marvel Comics, recently passed away at the age of 95.  Lee, whose brilliant mind left a lasting worldwide legacy, was ill for the last year of his life.  Sadly, his later years were partly consumed by struggles with his caregivers, aids, and daughter.  Stan Lee lost his wife in July of 2017 and after that time, he began to issue accusations against his advisors and child.  Lee reported that over $1.4 million went missing from his bank accounts.  He also signed a document stating that his adult daughter spends excessively and attempted to take advantage of him.  Lee’s troubled last years have left an estate planning mess in the wake of his death.  While Lee’s estate will likely be tangled in litigation for some time to come, there are several takeaways from his saga that could help you to avoid similar estate planning issues.


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Monday, November 19, 2018

What Should Your Family LLC Operating Agreement Address?

Estate planning involves using various estate planning tools to protect your property and your family. With a comprehensive estate plan, you can accomplish even more goals, such as reducing or eliminating estate taxes, preparing for retirement, and protecting your assets from creditors. You may or may not use the same estate planning tools as another person because your situation and finances are unique.

One of the tools our South Carolina estate planning lawyers discuss with some clients is a Family LLC. With a Family LLC, you can increase and enhance many of the benefits of estate planning we discussed above.

What is a Family LLC?

An LLC is a Limited Liability Company organized under state laws. It is a type of business entity that provides many of the benefits of a corporation or partnership without the formalities and costs of operating a corporation or partnership. Owners are referred to as “members” of the LLC. Members may have various degrees of management authority.


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Friday, November 16, 2018

What Happens During Probate?

Probate is the process of finalizing the financial affairs of a deceased person. In many cases, a family member is appointed as the Personal Representative to administer the probate estate. Regardless of whether there is a will or not, the decedent’s property must be distributed to heirs, and the final bills must be paid. A probate estate is the most effective and efficient means to settle a loved one’s affairs legally. If you are unsure how to proceed in probate court after the death of a loved one, a South Carolina probate lawyer can help you file the necessary forms to open and estate and guide you through the process step-by-step.


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Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Probate Process in South Carolina Explained

Why is it best to avoid probate whenever possible?

Probate is the legal process by which the court settles the estate of the deceased.  Each state sets its own rules and guidelines regarding probate.  In South Carolina, probate will be necessary when the deceased person (the decedent) personally owns property that exceeds a certain value, currently set to $25,000, or owns real estate.  Probate will be required even if a person has a will.  The main way to avoid probate, or minimize the assets distributed through it, is through the use of irrevocable or revocable trusts.  


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Monday, October 29, 2018

Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes

What might happen if I die without a will in South Carolina?

Estate planning is a task that many of us put off year after year.  Creating an estate plan requires answering difficult questions about your desires for your family after your death.  In making an estate plan, you are forced to confront your own mortality, which many of us are loathe to do.  However, not making an estate plan is one of the greatest mistakes you can make.  Our Charleston, South Carolina will and trust lawyers discuss the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to estate planning below.


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Friday, October 12, 2018

3 Tips for Choosing a Personal Representative for Trust Administration

When you are setting up your living trust or other trust documents, selection of the personal representative to administer the trust is one of your most critical decisions. Since most people do not have a great deal of experience in handling probate matters, it can be helpful to know the factors you should consider when evaluating this topic. Seeking the advice of an experienced trust administration lawyer can be critical. In the meantime, here are 3 tips for choosing a personal representative for trust administration.

Overview of What a Trustee Does

You need to understand what a trustee (a person or personal representative who administers a trust) does if you are to make an informed decision about who will serve in that role for you. You are asking the person to handle your money and other assets when you are not available to do so. Some people can handle that kind of responsibility without dipping their own hands into the pot, but others will be unethical or incompetent.


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Friday, October 12, 2018

Protect Your Small Business with an Estate Plan

What will happen to my business if I die without a will in place?

Aretha Franklin is the latest high profile celebrity to pass away without a will in place.  Her $80 million estate will now be divided in accordance with the law in her state of residency.  Prince’s estate, valued at over $300 million at the time of his sudden death, is still in court as his family battles over the money.  These celebrity deaths are extreme examples of the hazards of not creating an estate plan. Small business owners need to be aware of what could happen if they die without a will so that they can take steps now to preserve their hard earned assets through an estate plan.  


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Saturday, October 6, 2018

22 Things You Should Do Following the Death of a Loved One

When a loved one dies, whether expected or not, your life can become overturned. Suddenly you’re faced with questions about “What happens next?” from family and strangers alike. Often, the internal dialogue becomes simply – “What do I do now?” on a continuous loop. Our wills and trusts lawyers see this phenomenon every day. While we can’t take the pain away, we can offer some tips that can help you move through the “What happens next?”


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Friday, September 28, 2018

Dynasty Trusts Explored


What are the benefits of a dynasty trust over a traditional revocable trust?


A dynasty trust is a type of irrevocable trust set up for the benefit of the trust maker’s descendants.  Dynasty trusts, also commonly referred to as generation skipping trusts or descendant’s trust, are typically created to allow wealth to flow to several generations with minimal tax consequences.  For high wealth individuals, a well drafted dynasty trust could result in your heirs receiving significant funds that would have otherwise gone to federal and state taxes. Our
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What are the Downsides to a Community Property Trust?

A Community Property Trust is not as common as other revocable trust agreements used in estate planning. However, this type of trust agreement can provide benefits for spouses that other trusts do not provide. Our South Carolina community property trust lawyers assist clients in exploring the benefits and downsides of a Community Property Trust.


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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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