In this article, you will discover:
- Common mistakes that invalidate your will in South Carolina.
- How to protect your bank accounts from probate.
- Why you should avoid DIY estate planning.
What Makes a Will Invalid in South Carolina?
The most common mistakes I see people make in South Carolina that invalidate a will are handwritten notes or missing signatures. Any handwriting on a will, other than the signatures, will invalidate an otherwise valid will. If the will doesn’t have the signature of the maker, two witnesses, or a notary, that will also invalidate the will.
What Happens to Joint Bank Accounts When Someone Dies?
In almost every case, if someone dies with a joint bank account, it automatically passes to the joint account holder. This type of account would not involve probate. It would transfer as an immediate occurrence.
What Happens to a Bank Account When Someone Dies Without a Will?
When someone dies intestate—without a will—someone still has to go to probate court on that person’s behalf. Usually, the court appoints a spouse, parent, or sibling as the personal representative in the intestate’s estate. The personal representative will settle an estate, including bank accounts.
How Can Complications With Bank Accounts Be Avoided Through Proper Estate Planning?
With proper estate planning, the easiest way to avoid complications with bank accounts after death is to establish a joint account. At death, the account will pass to the other account holder automatically. If one doesn’t want to have a joint account, they should put in their will or trust specific language stating how the account should be used after death.
What Is the Best Way to Protect Bank Accounts You Use Regularly and Don’t Want to Include in a Trust?
The easiest and best way to protect bank accounts that you regularly use is to have a joint account holder. Otherwise, you must include it in your will with a specific provision of what you want to happen with that account.
Can You Fund a Revocable Trust With Only a House Listed as an Asset? Can You Avoid Probate by Doing This?
You can create a family trust or land trust that holds only a house. If the trust is drafted correctly, it will avoid probate for the house. However, any other assets you own would have to go through probate.
What Makes a Will Valid in South Carolina?
There are three requirements for a valid will in South Carolina:
- It is signed by the will-maker.
- It must have two witness signatures.
- It must be notarized by a notary public.
The Online Will Documents Look Easy Enough. Can I Just Do It Myself?
You can do a will yourself, but you probably will not do it correctly. You will leave out information and clauses that should be in the will. For instance, my will protocols allow a person to add something later to the will without doing an entirely new will.
What Happens if I Want to Add Something to My Will Later On?
There are three ways to add something to your will later:
- Do an entirely new will.
- Do an amendment to the will called a
- Build the option to leave items to specific people into the original will by having a clause stating you reserve the right to create a memorandum later to do so. This memorandum must be witnessed, notarized, and put with the will. A memorandum such as this cannot change the beneficiary or personal representative named in the will.
Does South Carolina Require a Will to Be Notarized to Be Valid?
A will must be witnessed by two people and notarized by a notary public to be valid.
What Happens if the Sole Owner of a Bank Account Dies?
When a person dies, any assets he owns will pass down by will or through intestate succession. If one person owns a bank account, then his next-of-kin or personal representative must go to probate court to be appointed as a personal representative. Then he can deal with the bank account through the bank.
For more information on Estate Planning in South Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (864) 271-7940 today.