What Happens if You Don’t Have One?
Dying without a will (commonly known as dying “intestate”) means not having any control over how your property is distributed after you have passed. Instead, your property will be distributed according to state statute. Many married people with children think this is no big deal, since they would leave everything to their surviving spouse anyway. Or maybe you think you do not own enough to warrant having a will.
However, there are issues and problems to consider with dying intestate. For example, in South Carolina, dying without a will means that only half of your estate passes to your surviving spouse. The other half of your estate passes to your children. This could lead to the situation where for any minor children under 18, a guardian would be appointed for them for that portion of your estate that passes to them, resulting in more delays and expense. Or perhaps you even have some children that you do not wish to inherit from your will. “Everything will just go to my spouse” does not apply in South Carolina.
There’s More At Stake Than Finances
Another potential problem is you and your spouse both dying when you have minor children. Custody of your children will have to be determined by the court. An advantage in having a valid will is naming the person who you would like to act as your children’s guardian. This helps the court in making their determination about custody.
Investing In a Will Now Can Save You Money Later
The relative inexpensive option of having an attorney prepare your will now can save you and your surviving family members money down the road. Perhaps the will you decided to make yourself contains ambiguity in it that you are not aware of. Having your family hire an attorney to request the court to interpret such provisions after you pass away is several times more costly than just having an attorney prepare the will in the first place.
Or perhaps after you pass away, there is in-fighting among your family members over who gets what or who has custody of whom. Generally speaking, thinking that won’t happen to your family is a dangerous attitude to take about anything in life. It can be especially dangerous in just assuming that all aspects of distributing your estate will go smoothly since right now everyone in your family gets along perfectly. Having a valid will ensures your ability to have control of your property after you are not around to tell everyone your wishes.
These issues and problems are found regardless of how rich or poor you are, or how big or small you think your estate is. At the very least, paying for a simple will can save your surviving family members expense and headaches.
How We Can Help
If you have any further questions or if you would like to form a Last Will and Testament, The McCord Law Firm, LLC is here to make things simple. We understand that every family has different estate planning needs, and we want to help you discover your best path forward and ensure your family’s protection.