Real Estate Law. Estate Planning. Simplified.

LawyerLisa, LLC focuses on Real Estate Closings, Estate Planning, Probate Litigation, and Elder Law.  Our firm is here to provide clients with comprehensive solutions in a comfortable environment.  Let our experience lead you to the solutions you seek.

Filtering by Tag: estate planning

Don't get your legal advice from a soap opera...the reading of the will

How do you know if rich Aunt Susan left her favorite nephew all the family fortune?  If you watch a lot of television, you may think that the lawyer calls the family together and reads the will aloud, announcing the lucky "winner" in dramatic fashion.  Well, you'd be wrong.

In South Carolina, there is no formal event such as a reading of the will.  When someone dies, the person in possession of the will has 30 days to file the will with the county probate court.  

Reading of the Will and Filing the Will with the Probate Court

All immediate family members will receive notice of the probate of the will and anyone who is named in the will also receives notice.  The initial notice sent to everyone is called the Information to Heirs and Devisees.  If someone would like to receive more information, they will need to file a Demand for Notice with the probate court.  Just because someone receives the Information to Heirs and Devisees notice, does not mean that they will get anything from the deceased person's estate.  

If you think you should receive something, you should file a Demand for Notice and consult with a probate attorney as soon as possible to protect any rights you may have.

If you have questions or need assistance with probate matters, or if you would like to avoid probate for your own estate, you can contact LawyerLisa for a consultation.

So, you're getting divorced: Important probate and estate issues to consider

Getting a good divorce lawyer isn't the only legal consideration in a divorce.

There is a lot more to consider and be proactive about.  South Carolina law has changed in recent years.  It's important to consult an estate planning attorney who is familiar with the new laws and how they affect you.

In Palm Springs, they think homelessness is caused by bad divorce lawyers.
— Garry Trudeau
  1. If you intentionally kill your spouse, you will not receive any benefits from their estate.  It's the law!
  2. If you or your spouse pass away prior to a final divorce decree:
    1. A pre-nup or post-nup which waives all rights in the property or estate, or a complete property settlement entered into in consideration of separation or divorce, is a waiver of all rights to elective share, homestead allowance, and exempt property by each spouse in the property of the other.
    2. Elective Share: A surviving spouse may elect to take an elective share in one-third of the deceased spouse's probate estate.  This would generally be elected if the surviving spouse is left less than one-third by the deceased spouse or completely omitted from the deceased spouse's estate.
    3. In South Carolina, you cannot just cut out your spouse at your death and expect them not to receive anything without following the proper legal methods to limit or eliminate the amount they can receive---even if you are going through a divorce or are separated from them!  We can set up a Q-Tip trust or provide other options to you.
  3. You must have a final divorce decree (signed by the Court and filed in the office of the clerk of court) or annulment to terminate your marital status for purposes of determining marital rights.  A decree of separate maintenance does not terminate the status of spouses under Section 62-2-802 of the Probate Code.
  4. Beneficiary designations are changed by divorce, but if a company doesn't know, they may send distributions where you don't want them.  It's important to update your accounts, beneficiary designations and fiduciaries.
  5. Common Law Spouse: If two people are living together as a married couple at the death of one of them, the other may claim to be a common law spouse and receive the benefits of a spouse after death (including assets that would normally go to the deceased person's children or family).  
    1. Adjudication must begin within the later of eight months after death or six months after the appointment of the personal representative. Clear and convincing proof of the common law marriage must be presented to the Court.
  6. When writing up property settlement agreements, consult a lawyer knowledgeable in refinances, assumptions, types of deeds and title insurance.  It is easy to direct property transfers in a settlement agreement that don't make sense.  A quit claim deed is often not the best type of deed to use, so ask someone familiar with real estate law before requiring it in your agreement.

If you would like comprehensive advice on these issues and more, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  This is a small snapshot of some of the issues that may be encountered.  

Call 803-563-5163 or send us your info at:

Ebola a/k/a Holy crap, we're all going to die

Sunday night, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York relaxed the mandatory quarantine for medical workers who had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa but were asymptomatic. Instead of being required to stay in an isolation tent, workers can now be quarantined in their own homes.

More than 10,000 people in Western Africa have contracted Ebola since March.  Almost 5,000 have died.  9 cases have been reported in the United States to date.  1 of the 9 has died.

So why the hysteria in the United States? It probably has a lot to do with lack of correct information on how it is spread and how it is contained.

The same goes for estate planning.  Here's what you need to know: You are going to die.  

It likely won't be from Ebola.  But, while you are planning, plan for your family.  Does your Ebola/Zombie Apocalypse/Nuke plan include a comprehensive estate plan?  It should.  Take care of your loved ones by setting your plan in place to protect them and their future.


South Carolina Makes Its Own History Today.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing same-sex marriages.  The result is that Virginia same-sex couples may now legally marry. South Carolina is also in the Fourth Circuit.  While this ruling does not negate the current state constitutional ban on marriages in South Carolina, it leaves room for the South Carolina case Bradacs v. Wilson to be decided in favor of marriage.  Charleston County and Richland County Probate Courts accepted their first marriage license applications from same-sex couples this week.  This move is undoubtedly foreshadowing events to come.

State and federal recognition of same-sex marriages provides rights and benefits to those couples.  And like other couples, it is important to have your estate plan and health care directives carefully reviewed by your estate planning attorney.  

LawyerLisa, LLC 3202 Fernandina Road Columbia, SC 29210 Phone: 803.563.5163

LawyerLisa, LLC 5175 Sunset Boulevard Ste 1 Lexington, SC 29072 Phone: 803.832.1068

LawyerLisa, LLC 100 Williams Street Greenville, SC 29601 Phone: 864.990.0347

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