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Wills and Last Testament

The foundational document, a Will, also known as a Will and Last Testament, is essentially the instruction manual for the Probate Court as to how to distribute property at death.  If there are minor children of the decendent, the Will can name the who the testator wishes to act as guardians - although the South Carolina Family Court has jurisdiction and final say regarding the welfare of children.  A Will can provide for ownership of land, houses, cars, cash, and any and all other property the testator owns at death.  

A Will can name the person who acts on the testator's behalf in Probate Court (the Personal Representative or Executor).  A Will can provide specific gifts (known as bequests) to children, family, other persons, or charities.  Or a Will can give certain things to some, and then all the remaining unnamed assets to others.  A Will can 'disinherit' a child or family member due.  A Will can provide that should a person entitled to receive under the Will be suffereing from addiction or other issues, that the Personal Representative have discretion in their gifts.  

A Will can create a 'testamentary trust' which can manage property for many years beyond the death of the testator.  A Will can grant ownership of real property for only a period of time (term of years, or life estate) and then allow for that ownership to revert to another.  Wills can protect themselves and cause someone who tries to contest the Will to be 'cut' from receiving anything.  

As the foundational document of the estate plan, Wills are vitally important and no person's wealth is too small to not need a will.  The ability to determine the ownership of one's property is an exercise in the rights of personal property and our liberties.  Even for someone with little property, drafting a simple Will is very easy and there are many websites which offer free templates. 

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