We assist individuals and families in formulating a proper estate plan, assist business owners with succession planning to provide for the orderly transfer of business interests following death, and represent persons and entities in probate and estate-related matters.
We also focus on helping elderly clients and their families by providing counseling and legal advice in numerous areas affecting the aging population, such as general Estate Planning; Health Care and Disability Planning; Medicaid and Long Term Care planning; and Guardianships and Conservatorships.
Medicaid Planning for Long Term Care
As you or your family members age, proper planning and long term care decisions must be made. When it comes to Medicaid, the nuanced laws and regulations can be tricky to navigate on your own.
Common Long Term Care & Medicaid Planning Questions:
I have a loved one who is going into a nursing home or needs round-the-clock care and I do not know how to pay for it.
Consider applying for Medicaid.
Yes. Certain assets, like a car and house, are excluded when determining Medicaid eligibility.
No. Medicaid has the right to file a lien against the estate of a beneficiary (after death), but it will not “take your house.” Medicaid limits its recovery efforts to estates that are greater than $25,000. With proper planning, you can limit what assets would be included in the estate and subject to Medicaid recovery.
Formulating & Creating Estate Plans
Establishing a proper Estate plan requires a complete understanding of family assets, liabilities, concerns and objectives. There are a handful of questions around Estate planning that can indicate it’s time to speak with a lawyer.
Common Estate Planning Questions
The use of a trust with estate planning will allow the settlor/grantor to set forth the terms as to when trust assets are distributed to beneficiaries. A trustee is also in charge of managing the trust assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.
I have a disabled child/spouse who is receiving Medicaid or other public benefits. Should I leave them out of the Will?
No, with the use of a Special Needs Trust as part of your estate plan, you can leave assets to your disabled loved one without risking their being disqualified from benefit programs.
If you die intestate (without a will), then South Carolina law determines who gets your property. If you are married with children, the property is split 50/50 between your spouse and your children.
I have been named as the Personal Representative in a Will, so can I go ahead and distribute the assets of the estate?
No, even if you have been named as the Personal Representative in a Will, you must open a probate estate and be appointed by the Probate Court to be able to act as the Personal Representative.
It depends. If the Will was executed prior to the birth or adoption of a child, then the omitted child may be able to claim a share of the estate pursuant to South Carolina law. If the Will was executed after the birth or adoption of a child, then the omitted child would have to prove the omission was not intentional and/or challenge the validity of the Will by showing undue influence, duress, or lack of mental capacity at the time the will was executed.
Probate Administration and Litigation
Knowing if your estate planning issues need to be taken in front of a probate court or need ligation requires help from a skilled attorney who can help keep your best interests at the forefront of your case. There are a few common questions that indicate your concerns might need legal action.
Common Probate & Litigation Questions
The Trustee, Agent, and/or Personal Representative is not carrying out his/her duties appropriately. What can I do?
You can seek the removal of the fiduciary and have someone else appointed. You can also request an accounting of any assets and if misused or misappropriated, then the fiduciary may have to reimburse the estate.
I have a loved one who is mentally or physically not able to manage his/her finances or properly care for himself. What do I do?
If mentally competent, then the individual can execute a General Durable Power of Attorney for Property and a Health Care Power of Attorney to appoint an agent to act on his/her behalf. Otherwise, you will need to petition the Probate Court for the appointment of a Conservator or Guardian for the person.
Elder Law, Probate, and Estate Planning Services
- Estate Planning
- Business Succession Planning
- Medicaid Long Term Care Planning
- Special Needs Trusts
- Probate Litigation
- Creditor Claims
- Will Contests
- Breach of Fiduciary Duties
- Probate Estate Admin (testate/intestate)
- Appointment of Personal Representative
- Preparing and filing the inventory, accounting, and other required documents
- Selling/Transferring Estate Assets
- All other administration issues
Know When to Speak to an Attorney
When you find yourself asking these questions, speaking with a qualified and experienced attorney will help ensure you’re making the best, informed decisions.