In Need of a Wills & Trust Lawyer in York County, SC?

At the David W. Martin Law Group, our Rock Hill and Fort Mill wills and trust attorneys know that most people understand why they need these critical documents — they are just in no hurry to start openly discussing the details. We understand. Wills and trusts allow individuals to specify how they want their assets distributed after death, which isn’t a highly anticipated conversation. However, without these legal documents, South Carolina laws determine how assets are distributed, which may not align with their wishes.

Our York County estate planning attorneys also know that wills and trusts are crucial tools that enable individuals to protect their assets, provide for loved ones, minimize taxes and probate costs, and ensure that their wishes are carried out according to their specific instructions and intentions.

Here, we discuss the difference between wills and trusts and how we can give our clients the flexibility to customize estate plans tailored to their unique circumstances and objectives.

Wills & Trust Law in York County, SC

What is the Difference Between Wills and Trusts?

Wills and trusts are essential estate planning documents but have different purposes and distinct characteristics.

The crucial difference between the two involves their function and flexibility, including:

Overall Functions of Wills and Trusts

  • Will: A will is a legal document outlining how an individual’s assets and property should be distributed after death. It also appoints an executor to manage the estate during the probate process and ensures that the individual’s wishes are fulfilled.
  • Trust: A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person transfers assets to a trustee to hold and manage for the benefit of designated beneficiaries. Trusts can be used for various purposes, including asset management, distribution, tax planning, and asset protection.

Potential for Avoiding Probate

  • Will: Wills must go through the probate process, which is the court-supervised — often time-consuming and expensive — procedure for validating the will, settling debts, and distributing assets. Wills become public documents during the probate process, meaning that the terms of the will and the estate’s value become part of the public record.
  • Trust: Properly structured trusts can bypass probate, allowing for faster asset distribution, reduced costs, and increased privacy. Trusts offer greater privacy because they do not go through probate and are not subject to public disclosure. The terms of a trust remain private, known only to the trust’s beneficiaries and those directly involved in its administration.

Each Estate Planning Tool Provides a Different Level of Flexibility

  • Will: Wills provide a straightforward means of distributing assets and naming guardians for minor children. However, they offer less flexibility than trusts in managing assets, controlling distributions, and providing ongoing support for beneficiaries.
  • Trust: Trusts offer greater flexibility in asset management, distribution timing, and beneficiary control. They can include detailed instructions for managing and distributing assets, allowing customized estate planning tailored to the individual’s needs and objectives.

Are Wills and Trusts Effective During an Individual’s Incapacitation?

At David W. Martin Law Group, our York County will and trust attorneys know that planning for one’s own incapacity can be challenging.

Legally, becoming incapacitated refers to a state in which an individual is no longer able to make or communicate decisions regarding their personal, financial, or healthcare matters. Incapacity can result from various factors, including illness, injury, disability, or cognitive decline.

Fortunately, there are estate planning tools that allow our South Carolina clients to plan for the unexpected.

It is important to note that wills do not take effect until after the individual’s death and do not address incapacity issues during their lifetime.

However, certain types of trusts, such as revocable living trusts, can be practical tools for managing assets and providing for incapacity planning. They allow for the seamless transition of asset management to a successor trustee if the trustor becomes incapacitated.

Many individuals use wills and trusts as part of a comprehensive estate plan to achieve their goals and objectives.

Contact Our Skilled Will and Trust Attorneys in York County, South Carolina

Our experienced York County estate planning attorneys will assess your assets, including real estate, financial accounts, investments, retirement accounts, business interests, life insurance policies, and personal property, and consider the types of assets you have, their value, and how you want them managed and distributed before outlining which of our legal tools and resources fit your unique objectives so that you can make informed decisions about your future and legacy.

Contact our David W. Martin Law Group will and trust attorneys in South Carolina today by calling (803) 590-1958 to schedule a meeting with our dedicated staff to discuss your current and future plans. We want to help you move forward with confidence.


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David W. Martin Law Group

108 Springs Street
Fort Mill, SC 29715-1722
(803) 548-2468

1061 Red Ventures Drive, Suite 145
Fort Mill, S.C. 29707
(803) 548-2000

910 E. North Street
Greenville, SC 29601
(803) 590-1958

324 East St. John Street, Suite F-2
Spartanburg, SC 29302
(864) 606-0053

331 Oakland Avenue
Rock Hill, SC 29730
(803) 985-9200

110 Trader’s Cross, 1st Floor
Bluffton, SC 29909
(843) 949-4354

2411 N. Oak Street, Suite 307B, 3rd Floor,
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
(854) 854-5623

1240 Winnowing Way,
Suite 102 Office 1120
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466
(843) 800-8165

Columbia office

1501 Main Street,
Suite 507, Columbia, SC.

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