OverviewWith our experienced attorneys, we guide fiduciaries and beneficiaries through the administration of probate estates, revocable and irrevocable trusts, and taxable estates. The death of a loved one is a stressful time, and acting as a fiduciary, whether it is as a Personal Representative under a Will or as the Trustee of a Trust, is often an unfamiliar situation. We strive to take as much of the burden off our clients as we can. When representing a fiduciary, we assist our clients in navigating the probate process and in understanding trust administration. We provide guidance on the duties and responsibilities of a fiduciary and assist beneficiaries in understanding and protecting their rights under the Will or Trust.
Fiduciaries seek our counsel to assist them with the process of qualifying as the Personal Representative for an Estate, determining which assets come under their control, obtaining the proper value of those assets, filing inventories and accountings with the Probate Courts, assisting with the preparation of final and estate tax returns, and making timely distributions under the Estate. There are numerous issues that tend to arise during the Estate and Trust administration process. These can include: spousal and pretermitted heir claims, sale of real estate, assets passing outside the Will or Trust to family members, intestacy, reinvestment of assets and related tax matters, and advancements to be charged against a beneficiary.
Additionally, while not administered through the Probate Court, Trusts must be administered timely pursuant to state law. Many decedents who established Trusts did not fully fund them (in other words, re-title assets into the name of their Trust during life). When this occurs those assets must be administered through the probate system, which the decedent often sought to avoid. Until the assets pass through probate and are legally transferred to the Trust, the beneficiaries of the trust cannot receive their inheritance.
Given the number and significance of issues that often arise in the administration of an Estate or Trust, experienced counsel is advisable for all fiduciaries. Our commitment is to provide timely and accurate guidance to our fiduciary clients so that they may meet their various obligations to the beneficiaries of the Estate or Trust, which they administer.
We also have attorneys to assist in navigating the Probate Courts through the Conservatorship and Guardianship process for incapacitated adults who may not have implemented the proper estate planning documents to guide them through incapacity. A Conservatorship may also be needed for a minor who inherits money after the death of a family member or from a recovery in a lawsuit. This could also include seeking court approval of a Trust. Our experienced attorneys are ready to guide clients through the Probate Code.
Our team includes professionals with advanced degrees in taxation or certifications in estate planning/ probate law and taxation from the South Carolina Supreme Court. Other members of our team are actively involved in reviewing and suggesting changes to the state’s Probate Code, and one of our attorneys, a former probate judge, serves as the chair of the committee.