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Protecting Your Loved OnesPreserving Your Assets
South Dakota Wills Attorneys
Let Our Unique Forward Development Process (FDP) Ease Your Planning Struggles
Developing a plan for your inevitable passing can be tough, but these important decisions can’t wait. With the help of our competent attorneys, you can explore creative estate planning solutions to your pressing concerns. Writing a will is a prudent choice because the document legally binds your wishes regarding your property and other rights. At Aspen Legacy Planning, our will attorneys in Rapid City, SD bring decades of experience to help each client draft clear and decisive wills.
Call (605) 610-4016 to schedule your no-obligation consultation with our South Dakota estate planning lawyers.
What Happens When You Die Without a Will in South Dakota?
When you die without a will, your estate is considered "intestate." The property in your estate will be distributed in accordance with your state's intestacy laws.
In South Dakota, intestacy succession proceeds according to your surviving close relatives:
- Children but no spouse - Children inherit full estate equally
- Spouse but no children - Spouse inherits full estate
- Spouse and children from you and your spouse - Spouse inherits full estate
- Spouse with at least one child from you who is not related to that spouse - Spouse inherits first $100,000 of property and half of the balance, children inherit the rest equally
- Parents with no spouse or children - Parents inherit full estate equally
- Siblings with no spouse, children, or parents - Siblings inherit full estate equally
Intestacy succession laws do not allow for assets to go to more distance relatives or non-related loved ones. In addition, your estate will be administered by a court-appointed representative, rather than an executor of your choice.
By not creating a will, you potentially risk:
- Surrendering control of the legacy you worked your whole life to create
- Allowing the state's law of intestate succession to choose how to distribute your property
- Giving your hard-earned property away to the state if you lack qualifying relatives under the state's succession laws
How to Create a Will
In order to legally make a will in South Dakota, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 18 years old
- You are of sound mind
South Dakota only recognizes hard copy wills. Most wills in South Dakota must be signed in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the will in your presence. Holographic wills, also known as handwritten wills, do not need to be witnessed as long as the entirety of the will is in your own handwriting.
While it is possible to draft a will without the assistance of an attorney, it is highly recommended. Retaining a Rapid City lawyer to write your will can help you ensure the will is fully legally complaint and help you avoid common pitfalls.
What Can an Attorney for Wills Do?
A wills attorney plays a pivotal role in helping individuals protect their estate. They provide legal guidance and advice to ensure that your wishes are respected and enforced upon your passing. They help draft a comprehensive will that abides by state laws and clearly conveys your intentions regarding your estate. A wills attorney also assists in minimizing potential disputes among heirs, ensuring a smooth transition of your assets.
A Rapid City, SD attorney specializing in wills offers several services, including:
- Estate Planning: Assisting in planning the allocation of assets upon death, including real estate properties, financial investments, and personal belongings.
- Will Drafting: Writing a will that is concise, clear, and legally compliant with South Dakota state laws. This includes specifying beneficiaries and the distribution of assets.
- Trusts Establishment: Setting up trusts to manage estate taxes, protect assets, and ensure the beneficiaries' future financial well-being.
- Power of Attorney: Helping establish a Power of Attorney, which allows someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- Estate Administration: Guiding the executor of your will through the steps they need to take to administer your estate, including the probate process.
- Dispute Resolution: Providing legal support in case of disputes over the will or estate, ensuring that your wishes are honored.
- Estate Tax Planning: Offering strategies to minimize potential estate taxes and maximize the value of the estate for the intended beneficiaries.
Get Help from an Experienced Legal Professional
While dealing with end-of-life decisions can be emotionally difficult, you are the only one who knows which desires and intentions need to be put down in writing. Making tough decisions now can save you a great deal of emotional turmoil later for your loved ones, especially if you pass unexpectedly.
The benefits of retaining a reputable attorney at Aspen Legacy Planning to draft your will can include:
- Power to settle disputes about your estate by sealing your wishes in a legally-binding document
- Security by establishing who will raise your children
- The efficiency of a faster probate process
- Ability to strategize about paying estate taxes
- Peace of mind of appointing an executor you respect and trust
- The happiness of securing your legacy through gifts and donations
There is no better time than the present to start seriously planning for the eventuality of your passing. Don't let procrastination be the enemy of your peace of mind. At Aspen Legacy Planning, Principal Attorney Stephen J. Wesolick can guide you through the process as painlessly as possible.
As your attorneys and counselors, we put your interests first - treating you with respect, honesty and dignity.
30 Years of Legal Experience
We offer no-obligation in-person, telephone and video-conference consultations for your convenience.