Driving through to make a will

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By VICKI BROWN

The Center for Heirs Property Preservation hosted a free Will Clinic at St. Peter’s AME Church, 302 Fishburne Street in Walterboro on Saturday, October 23.

Interested people were able to make appointments and drive-through to get free advice about wills.

Attorney Brianna Bogan, and her colleagues from Heirs Property, said they were more than happy to help Colleton residents with their wills. “When your will is complete, you need to make sure an attorney has looked it over and you have put it in a safe place and it is very important that you have a copy of the original will. It needs to include all of your property, real and personal, and if you go through any significant changes in your life, you update the will; marriages, children or name changes need to be updated in the will,” said Bogan.

She also cautioned people about writing their own wills.

“It is easy to forget to include some things in a Will, and an attorney can help you with all of your assets,” Bogan added. “You need to have a wholistic, all-encompassing will drafted by an attorney. We offer those services to anyone. On the average, having us draft a Will for you is only about $50, and our drive-through clinics are free.”

Heirs Property sponsors these drive-through wills periodically throughout the eight counties that they serve. Colleton is one of those counties and will be on the list once again for next year. One will be upcoming in Berkeley on November 6 and one in Jasper County in December.

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that protects heirs’ property and promotes its sustainable use to provide increased economic benefit to historically under-served families.

Important facts about wills:

-Wills must go to probate court after you pass. The will must be taken by a family member to probate court to be filed, or it is worthless.

-Your Will is a public document, and after you pass, anyone can read it.

-Wills deal with money and property, and who gets what after you pass. Funeral wishes are separate and need to be put in a separate document.

-Your will is not about your future health care. That is a separate document. Your will needs to fill out another document known as a “Living Will” which tells doctors what life saving measures you want taken if you are unable to tell them yourself. You can also use a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care which is for the person you want in charge of making health care decisions if you can’t

-Wills require legal formalities such as witnesses and a notary. It helps to have an attorney to assist you so the Will is correct and can’t be fought by family members.

For a will, it is important to create the initial document, designate an executor who will follow the instructions, appoint a guardian if you have kids, name the beneficiaries, designate who gets what, ask witnesses to sign your Will, store your Will in a safe place with a copy given to the executor. Two adult witnesses must have signed it and dated it, as well as the person who owns the Will.

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