Probate / Wills / Estates
What We Do
Having an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your family in the event of death or disability. The Rankin Law Firm can present a range of options and guide you through a comprehensive approach to estate planning that will help give you will have peace of mind that your family or loved ones will be protected.
South Carolina laws require that certain elements exist and procedures are followed before a will is considered valid in the probate court. Failure to follow the rules can result in the will being found invalid. The following are some of the important factors to consider when making a will:
- You must be of sound mind at the time of execution
- You must be over the age of 18 at the time of execution
- The will must be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two witnesses
- The witnesses should be not be among those named to benefit in the will
The biggest advantage of having legal counsel guide you through the execution process is that it will help to relieve concerns about the court declaring your will invalid or others successfully contested your will.
Probate & Estate Litigation
The Rankin Law Firm can help you handle with many of the legal issues that may arise after the loss of a loved one. Whether or not your loved one had a will, and regardless of the size of their estate, most estates need to go through the probate process with the court. During this emotional time, we can carry the burden of handling the estate administration to help relieve the stress of managing the financial and administrative affairs. Additionally, we will be able to provide you with guidance, protection, and represent your interests if a will contest or any related legal scenarios develop.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
South Carolina and federal law give all competent adults, 18 years or older, the right to make their own health care decisions. This includes the right to decide what medical care or treatment to accept, reject or discontinue. Having a healthcare power of attorney assures that if you become unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, accident, or advanced age you will have a recorded document stating the person you trust to oversee your care. Having this security will keep important health decisions from being placed in the hands of estranged family members, doctors, or sometimes even judges, who may know very little about what you would prefer.
Durable Power of Attorney
In South Carolina an individual who is unable to manage his or her own affairs is considered incapacitated. Incapacity may be sudden (a stroke or accident) or gradual (dementia or Alzheimer’s), and the duration of incapacity may be short or lifelong. Having a valid durable power of attorney is essential to maintaining control over expectations related to your own business and personal life in the event of incapacity. A durable power of attorney names a person who will serve as an agent to make decisions for you about property, financial, or health care matters. A durable power of attorney is a power that will survive your incapacity and preserve your right to make decisions in advance about your health and finances.
Wills & Estate Planning
The Rankin Law Firm takes a comprehensive approach to estate planning. Prior to formulating a plan, we will engage in a thorough consultation to review of your current expectations or any existing estate documents to establish a proper foundation. We will then provide guidance about available options and develop an estate plan that is personalized to you. Some of the issues we will address in an estate planning consultation include the following:
- Creating wills and trusts
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Durable power of attorney
- Protecting assets
- Minimizing taxes related to estates and gifts
The estate planning process is a very personal endeavor, unique to each individual plan. The Rankin Law Firm will take the time to get to know you and understand your preferences and your family dynamics with the objective of helping you create the best plan for you and your loved ones.