If you live in the Lowcountry, estate planning shouldn't be confusing or complicated if you allow Charleston Attorney Trey Harrell to guide you and your loved ones through the estate planning process. As a Charleston Estate Planning Attorney, Trey Harrell can walk you through any part of the process from drafting a simple will to a complicated trust agreement. Hiring Charleston Attorney Trey Harrell will allow you to have the peace of mind that your assets will be distributed according with your wishes.

Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell and his team will explain the many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. Often new clients say that they do not have an estate plan but are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In South Carolina, in the absence of legal planning otherwise, an individual's estate will be distributed after death according to South Carolina's laws of intestacy. Typically, this is not the plan you would have chosen. However, a properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the State's estate plan with your own and allow for your hard-earned assets to be passed on according to your wishes.

Your Last Will and Testament

Your Last Will and Testament is only one part of your complete estate plan that Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell and his team typically put together but it is a very important piece. In South Carolina, if someone dies without a Will they are said to have died "intestate" and our state laws will determine how and to whom their assets will be distributed. Important things to know about wills:

- Your will has no legal authority until after death. So, a will does not help manage a person's affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury. In the event an individual becomes incapacitate, the handling their healthcare and financial will be laid out in other pieces of your estate plan (most commonly with a Healthcare POA and/or a Durable POA).

- Your will does not help an estate avoid probate. Rather a will is the legal document submitted to the probate court, so it is basically an "admission ticket" and "roadmap" to probate.

- Your will is a proper place to name the guardians for your minor children if you are to pass. All parents of minor children should document their choice of guardians, so your children don't end up with the wrong guardians.

If you have any questions regarding Wills in the State of South Carolina, then don't hesitate to call Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell. He will be happy to walk through any issues with drafting a valid South Carolina Will or any other questions that you may have regarding Estate Planning in South Carolina.

South Carolina Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a written authorization, a legal document, to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter. The person providing the authorization to another person to act is the principal, grantor, or donor (of the power) and the person authorized to act is the agent or attorney or, in South Carolina, the "attorney-in-fact".

In other words, a power of attorney is a legal document which gives giving another person the legal right or the power to do certain things for you. What that power is depends on the terms of the document. A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited and specific.

A power of attorney, particularly Durable Power of Attorney, is one of the most important instruments utilized in your estate planning. How broad or narrow the scope of the power of attorney is determined by you based on your needs. Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell and his team is here to assist you in determining the type and specificity of the Power of Attorney.

In South Carolina, power of attorney is classified into various types: Non-Durable or General Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, Springing or Conditional Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney.

Non-Durable or General Power of Attorney:

Grants a limited scope of action to the agent, whom the principal may simply need to carry out a single task or single transaction and is no longer in effect should you become incapacitated.

South Carolina Durable Power of Attorney:

While a non-durable Power of Attorney is no longer in effect if you become incapacitated, a Durable Power of Attorney continues to be in effect even if the beneficiary becomes incapacitated and it lasts until death. By having a Durable Power of Attorney an individual of your choosing will be able to properly and legally manage you financial matters; such as authorized signature on banking accounts, pay bills, manage financial, investment and business affairs, perform retirement planning activities, sell property, obtain insurance and pay taxes.

- Durable Powers of Attorney should be frequently updated because banks and other financial institutions may hesitate to honor an older power of attorney.

Springing or Conditional Power of Attorney:

A Springing Power of Attorney or Conditional Power of Attorney is a type of Durable Power of Attorney that only comes into effect after certain conditions are met, typically when the principal becomes disabled or mentally incompetent.

Health Care Power of Attorney and Advance Directives:

A Health Care Power of Attorney gives another person, who you designate, the legal authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you should become incapacitated. Your designee, if you become incapacitated, will have access to your HIPAA protected health information, the ability to complete medical forms, the authority to negotiate and contract for medical or professional services, and the authorization and decision of a move to a nursing home, hospital or long-term care facility. Your designee can only make healthcare decisions on your behalf after your attending physician declares that you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions.

If you have any questions regarding a Power of Attorney in the State of South Carolina, then don't hesitate to call Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell. He will be happy to walk through any issues that may arise in executing a valid power of attorney or any other questions that you may have regarding Estate Planning in South Carolina.