In South Carolina, trusts are divided into two categories:
Testamentary Trusts – A testamentary trust does not become effective until the death of the trust’s creator (Trustor). A testamentary trust is useful to protect your beneficiaries from squandering their inheritance through immaturity, creditors’ claims, divorce, and other circumstances.
Living Trusts – A Living Trust (sometimes called an “inter vivos” or “revocable” trust) is a written legal document through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to designated beneficiaries at your death. A living trust takes effect when all the formalities of the trust’s creation are complete, and the trust has been funded by transferring some assets into the name of the trust.
In South Carolina, Living Trusts can provide many benefits to your estate plan, including:
Flexibility – There are many “specialized” living trusts available that can be created to achieve almost any estate planning objective.
Control – In a Living Trust, you can keep some control over those assets through the terms of the trust. Additionally, a Living Trust is a “revocable” trust that you can end or change at any time. As the trust’s creator, you have the right to amend it and alter the trust however you please and to get access to all the assets at any time for any reason.
Asset Protection – With a Living Trust, you can protect your assets from a “spendthrift” beneficiary and/or from a beneficiary’s spouse should he or she get a divorce.
Avoid Probate – During your lifetime, your Living Trust provides for the management assets, such as your home, that you put into the trust. After your death, your Living Trust functions as a Will substitute. The trustee administers the trust in accordance with its terms. Therefore, a Living Trust bypasses the probate process so that the assets are immediately available to the beneficiaries.
Save Costs and Fees – Often, the administration of a Living Trust can result in considerably fewer attorney fees than if your estate goes through the probate process.
Privacy – Documents filed in probate court are part of South Carolina’s public records. Because a Living Trust avoids probate, your gifts to beneficiaries will remain private.
Protection – Your Living Trust is protected by South Carolina’s legal requirement that trustees must provide accountings to all beneficiaries. Additionally, South Carolina law allows you to appoint a “trust protector” who is authorized to monitor the trustee’s actions and to take action to protect your Living Trust if necessary.
At The Suttles Law Firm, we can create Living Trusts to help you avoid the probate process to provide for efficient asset distribution, and to provide for the ongoing management of your assets in the event you become incapacitated.
If you need an attorney in Summerville or Charleston to help you create a trust, then please contact The Suttles Law Firm to schedule an appointment today.
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