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Estate Planning

North & South Carolina Estate Planning Attorney

Personal Estate Planning Services Throughout the Carolinas

When planning what to do with your estate, you want to ensure your loved ones are cared for and protected while handling your affairs. That’s why it’s vital to have a North or South Carolina estate planning attorney on your side.

At Collins Family & Elder Law Group, we can guide you through all the facets of estate planning to ensure we help create the estate planning outcomes you’re looking for. 

Contact us online or call (704) 289-3250 today to set up an initial consultation with a member of our legal team. We have multiple office locations to better serve you.

Establishing a Solid Estate Plan

Every family should have a properly designed estate plan crafted by North or South Carolina estate planning attorneys with experience in this practice area. When implemented, your customized estate plan should address all your needs and meet important goals, such as taking care of your loved ones and protecting your property. 

Your plan should leave you with peace of mind knowing that you control who can make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot make those decisions yourself. Our NC and SC estate attorneys at Collins Family & Elder Law Group are dedicated to protecting your family’s future through your uniquely designed estate plan. 

Our attorneys offer a variety of tools to achieve your personal goals, such as:

  • Last will and testaments
  • Revocable trusts 
  • Irrevocable trusts 
  • Minor trusts 
  • Pet trusts
  • Healthcare and durable powers of attorney 
  • Declaration for a natural death/living will 
  • HIPAA authorizations
  • Guardianship setups for minor children or those with special needs

Comprehensive Estate Planning

Our North and South Carolina estate planning attorneys understand every family’s needs are unique, meaning no two plans will be the same. We take the time to help you create a personalized and carefully crafted plan that safeguards your assets, minimizes tax implications, and protects your loved ones the way you prefer.

Some of the most basic elements of a comprehensive estate plan include: 

  • Wills & Trusts: Having a will or trust is critical when working on estate planning in North or South Carolina. Wills and trusts allow you to dictate specific directions for your estate, including designating beneficiaries, naming guardians for minor children, and identifying other ways your estate should be handled.
  • Powers of Attorneys and Living Wills: Life is unpredictable, so it’s crucial to appoint a power of attorney and create a living will to have someone in charge of your healthcare directives for any eventualities that may arise. Our NC and SC estate lawyers can help you understand each document to ensure you make decisions that best match your goals for your heirs and estate.

Benefits of Having an Estate Plan in NC & SC

Having an estate plan in North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC) can offer several benefits. 

Here are some potential advantages of having an estate plan in NC and SC:

  • Asset Distribution: An estate plan allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed among your beneficiaries, ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your passing.
  • Avoiding Probate: With proper estate planning, you can potentially bypass or minimize the probate process. This helps to streamline the distribution of assets and can save time and costs associated with probate proceedings.
  • Privacy: Estate plans, especially those involving trusts, can provide privacy by keeping asset distribution and details out of public record. This confidentiality can be beneficial for individuals who prefer to keep their financial affairs private.
  • Minimizing Taxes: Effective estate planning can help reduce the impact of estate taxes and transfer taxes. By utilizing various strategies such as gifting, trusts, and charitable contributions, you may be able to minimize the tax burden on your estate.
  • Protecting Assets: Estate planning can provide asset protection for your beneficiaries. Trusts, for example, can protect assets from creditors, lawsuits, and other potential risks.
  • Guardianship for Dependents: If you have minor children or dependents with special needs, an estate plan allows you to designate guardians who will care for them in the event of your incapacity or death.
  • Healthcare Decisions: Estate planning includes incorporating advance healthcare directives and powers of attorney, allowing you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Business Succession: For small business owners, estate planning can facilitate a smooth transition of ownership and management, ensuring the continuation of the business after your passing.

Probate in North & South Carolina

Following someone’s death, their estate enters probate. If you have a will and/or trust(s), your estate will be handled per your instructions. If you haven’t worked with a North or South Carolina estate planning attorney and don’t have a will or trust, your estate will be handled and divided according to probate laws.

The probate process begins after a loved one’s passing, where a court will verify their will and trusts and then begin distributing their estate assets accordingly. This process can be lengthy, time-consuming, and difficult for your family members. Without a will or trust, the court will appoint an executor who must legally and fairly handle your estate for all your heirs but may not act according to what would have been your wishes. The importance of advance planning and estate documents cannot be overstated.

How We Can Help 

In addition to crafting custom estate plans alongside our clients, we also assist with specialized and unique estate planning needs. 

Our firm is prepared to assist you with the following: 

  • Mergers & Acquisitions: If you own multiple businesses and want to combine them into one, you’ll have to take several steps to ensure the merger complies with all relevant laws. Our lawyers are experienced in all aspects of NC and SC estate planning, including mergers and acquisitions, and can guide you through this process if you need it.
  • Medical Practice Planning: Medical practices face different issues regarding estate planning in NC and SC. There are often partners and extensive financial aspects to consider, so working with a North or South Carolina estate planning attorney is helpful to ensure everything is handled correctly.
  • High Net-Worth Planning: If an individual with a high net-worth passes without a will or trust, there could be a lot of contention between their heirs regarding what happens to their estate. To ensure your money, property, and other assets are handled exactly how you want them to be, speak with a NC or SC estate attorney today.
  • Special Needs Planning: If you have a child with special needs, you’ll want to account for their future in your estate planning. You should appoint a backup guardian in case you aren’t able to care for your child in the future and set up funds or a plan for your child’s care. If your child is about to turn 18, you’ll also need to apply to be their guardian if they are unable to care for themselves or make important decisions.

Estate Planning FAQ 

Legal Planning for the Road Ahead

You’ve worked hard for your life and legacy, so it only makes sense to protect your estate and ensure it is distributed and preserved according to your wishes. At Collins Family & Elder Law Group, we assist you through every estate planning step, including creating a will, developing a trust, assigning a power of attorney, and more.

We take great pride in providing high-end services that put you and your family first. Check out some of our reviews to see why clients choose us as their North or South Carolina estate planning attorneys and all other family and elder law needs.

Contact us online or by phone at (704) 289-3250 today to schedule a consultation.

  • How can estate planning help minimize estate taxes?

    There are certain things you can do to help minimize estate taxes (also known as inheritance taxes) in North and South Carolina. The best way to do this is to establish a trust. By placing assets into a trust, you can reduce the taxable value of your estate, meaning you will lower the amount that must be paid in estate taxes.

    You can also gift assets before you pass away to help avoid estate taxes. North and South Carolina do not have gift taxes, and gifting assets can allow you to take advantage of certain gift exemptions to further reduce the taxable value of your estate.

    Other options for minimizing estate taxes in North and South Carolina include utilizing martial deductions, investing in life insurance, and creating a last will and testament to aid in minimizing probate-related fees and other expenses for your loved ones.

  • Can I make changes to my estate plan after it’s created?

    Most estate planning documents—except for irrevocable trusts—can be altered, adjusted, or modified after they are created. This means that you can change your will, name new beneficiaries or trustees, appoint a different guardian for your children, or change your mind regarding your end-of-life care. At Collins Family Law Group, we help clients create and modify estate plans to better meet their needs.

  • What happens if I die without an estate plan in North or South Carolina?

    If you do not have a last will and testament, trust, or other estate planning documents outlining how you would like your assets to be distributed among your heirs and beneficiaries when you pass away, your assets will be distributed according to intestate laws. These laws differ slightly from state to state, but generally mandate that your assets be distributed to your closest living relatives first, such as a spouse or child, then more distant relatives, such as a parent or sibling. If no such relatives exist, your assets will be divided among even more distant living relatives and/or your next of kin.

  • I’m still young; do I really need an estate plan now?

    Everyone can benefit from creating an estate plan, regardless of age. Unfortunately, the truth is that we do not know what the future holds; even if you are young, it is a good idea to plan for the future of your assets and loved ones. This is especially true if you are a parent, as you can use an estate plan to appoint a guardian for your children.

  • Do I need an estate plan even if I don’t have significant assets?

    A comprehensive estate plan goes beyond planning for your financial assets. Even if you do not have significant assets, an estate plan can be used to protect your loved ones and your legacy. An estate plan can also include documents outlining how you would like your sentimental items to be distributed upon your death, as well as your wishes regarding end-of-life care. You can use an estate plan to name a power of attorney, or someone who is authorized to act on your behalf in certain financial or healthcare situations should you be unable to make decisions for yourself. You can also appoint a guardian for your minor children or children with special needs. For these reasons, it is important to create an estate plan regardless of the size of your estate or the financial value of your assets.

  • What is the difference between a will and a living will?

    Though they are often confused, a last will and testament (or simply a “will”) and a living will are two very different documents. While a will outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed among your heirs and named beneficiaries upon your death, a living will is used to state your medical care preferences when you face specified terminal illnesses or health conditions. A living will is also sometimes referred to as an “advance directive for a natural death” and can be used to outline your wishes regarding end-of-life care.

Contact Us Today

Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (704) 289-3250

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