4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Nothing can make an already difficult time harder than a battle over a deceased loved one’s assets. It’s the kind of situation where if the deceased’s loved ones were given the time to grieve, the process would be less volatile. Sadly, the law leaves very little time for this. That’s why one of the most useful things you can do for your family is to be aware of the inheritance process and prepare ahead of time for as smooth a process as possible. At Axelrod & Associates, P.A., we help our clients give their families more space to grieve by reducing the challenges and points of conflict in managing your assets after death.
Unless you take pre-emptive action, most of your estate will have to go through probate in Little River, South Carolina. As long as you own real property and/or have an estate over $25,000, then your estate must go through probate. More specifically, there are three categories of assets that are subject to probate:
The probate process, particularly the more complex and valuable the estate, can sometimes be contentious. It’s comprised of several steps:
Many families that have gone through probate wish that the process could have been avoided. Some of the primary reasons are:
Avoiding, or at least minimizing, the probate process is something many people wish to do. To understand how to avoid probate, consider the kinds of assets that are not required to pass through probate:
It’s that final category, assets in a trust, that can be most beneficial for avoiding probate. If a living trust is set up, you can place assets in the ownership of the trust and still manage those assets as the trustee. In the event of your death, a trustee you name will be responsible for administering the trust according to your instructions. Setting up these kinds of trusts so that they are effective in minimizing a family’s involvement with probate can be somewhat complex. Estate planning lawyers, though, can help. At Axelrod & Associates, P.A., we can help ensure that your assets get managed according to your wishes.
A: You could go through South Carolina probate without a lawyer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The probate process can be complex and involves a lot of different forms. Any missteps along the way, and you can find yourself in a bind that may be difficult to correct if it even can be corrected. Hiring a lawyer can save a lot of hassle and stress in regard to the probate process because they understand it and have been through it before. The larger and more complex the estate, or the more contentious the fight over assets, the more valuable it can be to have a lawyer by your side.
A: All estates in South Carolina have to go through some kind of probate process. However, if an estate has no real property involved and is less than $25,000, it is not subject to the full probate process but can proceed through an expedited small estate probate, also known as summary probate.
A: In South Carolina, there are three kinds of assets that must go through probate:
A: The most effective means of avoiding probate court is a living trust. Any assets that are in the trust will be managed according to the terms that you set forth, and the trustee will see that they are managed according to your direction upon your death. This allows you to avoid the costs of probate, distribute inheritance to your heirs more quickly, and keep your estate out of the public record.
A loved one’s passing is a difficult time. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t allow for much time for grieving before the deceased’s assets must be dealt with. If there isn’t a clear plan for how the assets are to be handled, that already emotionally charged time can turn highly contentious. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. For many, one final gift they can bestow upon their family is thorough, clear arrangements for the assets — preferably one that avoids the difficulty of probate court. If you want to learn how to prepare your assets for a smooth transition in the event of your passing, contact us at Axelrod & Associates, P.A., today.