Estate and Tax Planning

Shari Mattingly-Bevan founded the Law Offices of Shari Mattingly-Bevan in Santa Ana, California. Her practice focused on the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, as well as estate and trust litigation.

Estate planning is necessary and operates in conjunction with a client’s retirement and long term care planning. Estate planning documents plan for incapacity and the transfer of wealth upon one’s death. A comprehensive estate plan includes a living trust, pour over will, durable power of attorney, health care directive or medical power of attorney and a living will (right to refuse life support) document. Many people overlook the need to plan for incapacity. If someone becomes incapacitated it can be complicated from a legal perspective. If someone becomes incapacitated and that person does not have a durable power of attorney, then court involvement becomes necessary. Court involvement necessarily involves legal expense and time delays.

Furthermore, when people fail to set up an estate plan, their estates inevitably must go through a probate proceeding. Probate is the legal procedure used to determine the decedent’s (deceased person) heirs at law, to ensure the decedent’s creditors are satisfied and transfer assets to the intended beneficiaries under a will, if the decedent died testate (with a will) or to the heirs at law if the decedent died intestate (without a will).

Estate planning is also an opportunity for clients to engage in sound estate tax planning. The current state of the federal estate tax laws are such that many estates will be required to unnecessarily pay a federal estate tax, without additional tax planning. An experienced estate planning attorney will incorporate sound tax planning principles into a comprehensive estate plan.

Shari Mattingly-Bevan is not a South Carolina licensed attorney; however, she does work closely with several top estate planning attorneys in the area to assist her clients. Please contact our office, should you need a referral to an estate and tax planning attorney in the Greenville area.