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Estate Planning & Probate

Estate planning & probate require strong legal counsel to ensure that concerns and objectives are addressed. Planning means making sure your assets go where you want them to go giving you peace of mind.

Our South Carolina estate planning attorneys have the knowledge and experience to make sure that your wishes are executed clearly, and your plan implemented.

Whether you are creating a new estate plan or updating and reviewing your plan, we are here to help you make the important decisions by identifying your goals and objectives. We will help you create a custom road map for the future and help you get there.

Estate Planning Worksheet

Inventory and Valuation of Assets

Once the probate estate has been opened with the court, the next step is to establish the date of death values for assets. Most states require inventory of the decedent’s assets to be filed. Assets include real estate, personal effects including jewelry, artwork, and collectibles. If the estate is taxable, then value must be established for non-probate assets. We work with professional appraisers and other experts to help you submit accurate documentation.

Beneficiary Distributions

When a traditional IRA is transferred into an inherited IRA it is sometimes referred to as a beneficiary distribution account. There is a special set of tax rules that determine how and when you may take annual distributions. The rules vary based on whether you are a spouse or non-spouse. There is considerable flexibility and control over how and when to receive inherited assets. We are here to help you fully understand your options so you can make the decision that is best for your overall financial plan.


A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person’s wishes as to how their property is to be distributed after their death. Failure to prepare a will leaves decisions about your estate in the hands of judges or officials. To be completely sure everything is in order, consider letting us prepare your will. Wills can vary in their effectiveness. They are state-specific documents. Let us help you make sure your wishes are carried out by creating a will that is right for you.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is a trust document created by an individual that can be changed over time. Revocable living trusts are used to avoid probate and to protect the privacy of the owner and beneficiaries of the trust as well as minimize estate taxes. Let us talk with you to determine if this is the right document for you.

Irrevocable Living Trusts

An irrevocable living trust cannot be revoked even though it takes effect during the life of the granter. An irrevocable trust is used to transfer wealth, protect assets, or reduce taxes. Even though you create a trust during your lifetime it will not take effect until your death. Once an asset is in the irrevocable trust, you no longer have direct control over it. We can help you make sure this is the right document for you.

Life Insurance Trusts

A life insurance trust is an irrevocable trust that owns a life insurance policy, in which you can determine who will have control, how premiums will be paid, who will benefit from the trust, and how payments should be made to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. It may allow you to reduce or even eliminate estate taxes.

Estate Tax Planning

Our experienced attorneys can customize your estate planning services, conserving, protecting, managing, and transferring wealth, while minimizing income, gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. The goal of estate tax planning is to transfer as much of your property with as little taxation as possible. Let us help you with your plan.

Living Wills

A living will is an advance healthcare directive that is a legally binding document that informs your doctors about your preferences for medical care at the end of your life. Every state has different laws and practices, but our attorneys will assist you in creating this highly important document.

Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts

A special needs trust will preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for needs-based government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. The beneficiary does not own the assets in the trust, so he or she can remain eligible for benefit programs that have an asset limit. Planning for the life of a person with a disability, as well as that of his or her siblings who may be left with the responsibility of caretaking, is an important process. Special or supplemental trusts are important components of planning.

Powers of Attorney

Power of Attorney names a person often called your agent or attorney-in-fact, to handle matters for your while you are alive. Your Power of Attorney ceases to be effective at the moment of your death. Powers of Attorney have considerable power to manage your affairs. We recommend that you select someone whom you have complete trust in. We can help you make that important decision.

Healthcare Powers of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney document allows you to grant a trusted person, known as an agent, the authority to make medical and end-of-life care decisions on your behalf. This is an important document to ensure the person you want to make decisions on your behalf is properly authorized to do so.

Rights of Survivorship

The right of survivorship is an attribute of several types of joint ownership of property, most notably joint tenancy, and tenancy in common. Right of survivorship can impact what happens to a property if one person dies before the other one. It is important to understand how this works and how it can impact various facets of your life. Let us help you understand all aspects of rights of survivorship.

Jill R. Kroamer
Alisa L. McCray
Cathy West Olivetti