Experienced South Carolina trust and estates attorney helps guide you through the process
The probate process follows what is typically a very painful emotional loss. I have many years of experience in probate law and seek to reduce the client’s stress of navigating through the probate system. The law office of Maggi Fields Bailey provides help to executors and beneficiaries going through this often complex process.
The process of probate
Most executors have rarely if ever probated a will and know little about the process. I can guide you through all aspects of probate, including:
- Filing the will with the South Carolina probate court
- Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously probating the estate
- Finding and collecting assets
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying estate taxes
- Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
- Locating beneficiaries
- Hiring experts, when appropriate
Drafting your last will and testament
A will is essential at every stage of your life, providing you with the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes for what will happen upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to someone who is not your blood relative e.g., a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your beloved pet — and the decisions the court makes might not reflect your desires. I have 15 years of experience, and can assist by drafting a valid will to ensure your intentions are honored.
Appointing a guardian
Your will allows you to make decisions about the future care of your minor children. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent or in the event that both parents die in a common incident. If you have not named a guardian for your children, the court appoints one, who may make parental decisions contrary to what you would have wanted. In your will, you can also make arrangements for the care of your pets, naming a guardian to take responsibility for them.
Creating an optimal estate plan
Drafting an effective will requires more than filling in a form. If a court determines that your will is invalid, your desires will not be honored upon your death. I will draft your will and consider all aspects of your estate plan. We review your family arrangements, financial situation and philosophical goals to guide you in making the best estate planning decisions, and draft your will accordingly.
Valuing and managing the estate
I assist executors with the arduous process of collecting, managing, valuing, protecting and liquidating the assets of the estate. I have a team of experts available to assist in every aspect of estate probate. When appropriate, the firm calls upon accountants, financial advisers, real estate agents, property managers and other professionals to assist with executor duties. I can access expert opinions about unique assets such as antiques, rare books, automobiles and other collectables for accurate valuation, management and possible sale.
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between beneficiaries. My professional courtroom presence can calm the emotionally-charged process of probating a challenged will or disputed executor or judicial decision. When it is in the best interests of our client to preserve cordial familial relationships, I am adept at mediating these disputes. When necessary, I assertively defend my client’s beneficiary rights within the South Carolina probate court.
Contact my office today
I serve clients in Greenville and throughout Upstate South Carolina. Call me at 864-232-0455 or contact my office online to schedule an appointment.