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An Overview of Estate Planning: An Interview with Dalton B. Floyd, Jr. of The Floyd Law Firm PC

By Dalton B. Floyd, Jr.

Tell Us a Little bit about your company.

Established in 1973, our team of attorneys have the knowledge and experience to ensure our clients receive the best legal guidance the Grand Strand has to offer. Some of our attorneys have been in practice for over 40 years. We take great pride in our staff, many of which are experts in one or more fields. This expertise allows us to provide superior legal services in a number of fields of law. We take our responsibilities seriously knowing that the effort we expend and the results achieved for our clients will often have a lasting impact on their lives. What sets us apart from other law firms, large or small, is that we care about our clients. Whether it is promptly returning their telephone calls or sending them a progress report on their case, we strive for unequaled service. Our goal is to build lasting relationships with our clients so that they are "clients for life." Although our slogan is "It's our Job to Know", it's also our job to care about our clients.

What are some of the services your company provides?

The Floyd Law Firm PC is a full service firm equipped with a team of seven attorneys that provides assistance on most all areas of the law. Our transactional attorneys handle business formations and filings for LLC's, corporations, and partnership as well as probate, real estate and estate planning. Our trial attorneys handle matters such as criminal defense, divorce and family law, personal injury, and general civil litigation. In addition we provide services in the specialized fields of Homeowners Association Law and Golf Law.

Can you briefly state for our readers a generalized definition of estate planning?

Estate planning is planning for what happens to your property after your death. It involves figuring out what they have, who will eventually get it, and how getting it will affect them. For many people, this can be handled by a simple Will that is probated after their death. For others, it may involve more complex issues that will need tax and financial planning well in advance of their death.

At what age should you start planning your estate details? Why is it important to have your estate in order at this age?

Estate planning should be started as soon as possible. Obviously, the older you are and the greater your estate, the more important it is to have a plan in place. If you do not have at least a basic will, then each state has a scheme by which it will distribute your property to your relatives. Often times, this distribution is not the way you have wished and can lead to tax consequences for the beneficiaries, family turmoil, and sometimes protracted litigation. If minor children are involved, a Trust may be necessary to manage the assets and use the income and principal for the children's medical care, education and support. If a child is disabled, a "Special Needs Trust" may be recommended.

What sorts of issues do estate lawyers deal with?

An estate lawyer has to be familiar with a number of different areas of law. The most obvious is the law relating to wills and trusts in that state. However, estate lawyers must also have a strong understanding of real estate law (since most estates involve at least some real estate). In addition, they must be familiar with corporate and business law, since many clients have investments in stocks and bonds as well as interests in closely held private companies.

How is estate planning different from the creation of a Will?

Estate planning is more expansive than the creation of a Will. Though estate planning usually does involve preparing a Will, and in some cases may involve nothing else, often issues such as reducing probate costs and tax consequences need to be explored and planned. Also, Durable Power of Attorney for property, financial and health care matters is necessary in the event of disability, and a Living Will is recommended to set out the client's wishes about what extended medical care should be withheld or provided if the client becomes unable to communicate his or her wishes.

How do estate planning law vary from state to state?

Estate planning may be the area of law that varies most drastically from state to state. Intestacy, which is the name for dying without a Will, is a good example. In South Carolina, if you die without a Will and are survived by a spouse and a child, half of the estate goes to the spouse and the remaining half is divided among the number of children. In other states, if there is a surviving spouse then the entire estate passes to the spouse.

What is the best way for people to reach you or your company?

You can reach us by phone at 843-238-5141, and you can also visit us at our website www.floydlaw.com.

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