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Meghan Barnes

Meghan McKoy Barnes, known as "Magoo" to family and friends, represents clients in matters involving estate planning, probate, prenuptial agreements, and guardianship and conservatorship issues. She grew up in Boykin, South Carolina and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a double major in Business Management and Marketing. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Meghan attended the Charleston School of Law where she focused in the area of family law. During law school, she clerked for a reputable firm and volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem for the Department of Social Services abuse and neglect cases. Meghan has been practicing since 2012 in the areas of estate planning, probate, and family law. Her experience in these areas of the law have given her a unique understanding of complex issues that can arise without careful planning.

Meghan and her husband, Logan, a dentist in Murrells Inlet, have a daughter and a German Wirehaired Pointer. They are members of All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, and Meghan is currently serving a three-year term on the Vestry. In their spare time, Meghan and Logan enjoy inshore and offshore fishing. 

Education

Charleston School of Law, Class of 2012

JD, Law

University of South Carolina, Class of 2009

BS, Business

Associations

Georgetown County Bar Association

Horry County Bar Association

South Carolina Bar Association

Honors and Awards

Charleston Legal Elite, 2018

 

Areas Of Services

 
Estate planning 

The word “estate” refers to property owned by a person who has passed away. It may also refer to property belonging to a disabled individual or minor. Wills, trusts, probate, and other matters are complex, and the personal and family relationships involved often further complicate the situation. Therefore, it is essential to retain an adviser with a thorough knowledge of the law.

Estate planning extends your intentions, values, and priorities to future circumstances in which you will not be able to actively participate. The goal is to produce a plan that will strengthen and preserve financial security for you and your loved ones. Your estate plan may include a will and a trust, or it may just include a will.  The Law Office of Meghan Barnes, LLC can help you draft a comprehensive plan that fits your needs.

Probate
 

Many individuals who have heard of the term “probate” may not be sure what it really means. Probate or estate administration in South Carolina is simply a court-managed process in which the assets of a deceased loved-one are managed and distributed. If there is a Will, the assets are distributed in accordance with the Will. If there is not a Will, then state law dictates how assets will be distributed.

While this seems straight forward, probate can be quite complicated, particularly when someone dies without a valid will in place. The Law Office of Meghan Barnes, LLC assists clients in South Carolina and has extensive experience advising individuals with estate administration. We offer superior personal service, helping you through what can be a time-consuming and difficult process.

 
Prenuptial Agreements

A premarital agreement is a contract entered into by two parties.  The purpose of a premarital agreement is “an agreement between prospective spouses.”  The agreement is made with an eye towards the life of the prospective spouses as a married couple.  Premarital agreements, while binding contracts, are only effective upon a legal marriage ceremony taking place.

Many couples do not consider getting a prenuptial agreement unless one or both parties have considerable assets or income. However, a prenuptial agreement can benefit both spouses even if assets or income are currently sparse. Because a prenuptial agreement documents the separate property of each spouse, can be tailored to fit your estate plans and is written to fit you and your spouse’s specific needs and wishes, the agreement can help resolve differences over finances and estate planning that become irreconcilable in many marriages.

Attorney Meghan Barnes has extensive experience working with individuals who are contemplating entering into a prenuptial agreement. Meghan is skilled both in drafting agreements, and in carefully reviewing agreements prepared by other attorneys. She is committed to making sure that agreements cover all the issues that are important to you, and that you understand what you are gaining and what you are giving up by entering into a prenuptial agreement.

 
Guardianships & Conservatorships

If a person is not able to do things like pay bills, make decisions on property, sign contracts, or secure appropriate medical care, someone has to be chosen to do those things on behalf of the individual who cannot act on his own.  

If an adult becomes unable to act autonomously or to manage his affairs, guardianship proceedings may need be initiated by a friend or family member. This will not be necessary if advanced plans have been made by the person who is now incapacitated. For example, if a Durable Power of Attorney was established, no guardianship proceedings should be needed as the chosen agent can simply take over acting on behalf of the adult who created the Power of Attorney and who is now not able to act of his own accord.

Unfortunately, far too many people don’t have an incapacity plan and their loved ones are forced into guardianship proceedings when illness or injury strikes.

During guardianship proceedings, the Probate Court determines if incapacity prevents autonomous action. If illness or injury have made expressing or communicating decisions impossible,  a guardian and/or conservator will be appointed for the incapacitated individual. The guardian or conservator will act, under the Court’s supervision, to manage their affairs.

Special needs trusts
 

A Special Needs Trust,  sometimes called a “Supplemental Needs Trust” makes it possible to provide for the needs of a disabled person without disqualifying him or her from benefits received from government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. Such trusts are drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining eligibility for public benefits.

Under current Federal law, any inheritance of more than $2,000 disqualifies individuals with disabilities from most federal needs based assistance, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Benefits from state public assistance programs may also be affected.

As their name implies, Special Needs Trusts are designed not to provide basic support, but instead to pay for comforts and luxuries that could not be paid for by public assistance funds. These trusts typically pay for things like education, recreation, counseling, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life. (However, the trustee can use trust funds for food, clothing, and shelter if the trustee decides doing so is in the beneficiary’s best interest despite a possible loss or reduction in public assistance.) Special needs can include medical and dental expenses, annual independent check-ups, necessary or desirable equipment (such a specially equipped vans), training and education, insurance, transportation, and essential dietary needs. If the trust is sufficiently funded, the disabled person can also receive spending money, electronic equipment and appliances, computers, vacations, movies, payments for a companion, and other self-esteem and quality-of-life enhancing expenses.

 
Business Formation & Planning

The importance of forming an LLC is immense for a small business. When forming a Limited Liability Company, it is important that small business owners follow the legal steps necessary. As such, we strongly recommend that anyone considering forming an LLC speak with a qualified attorney.

The Law Office of Meghan Barnes, LLC will provide counsel, drafting, filing and execution with the following:

  1. Name availability search;

  2. Articles of Organization;

  3. Operating Agreement;

  4. Serving as the Registered Agent; and

  5. Assistance with application for Federal Tax ID.

 

The Operating Agreement is the only document which shows that you are the true owner or manager of the LLC. Many times, Articles of Organization (which are public information) will have different names listed for the organizer and the registered agent. The majority of the time, the names of the individual members will not be listed on this public document. You will need an operating agreement to show that you are, in fact, the true owner of the LLC or that you have the authority to act on behalf of the LLC. As an example, a bank, title company or commercial landlord may require that you present a copy of your operating agreement to show that you have the authority to speak for the LLC. It would cast some doubt on your authority if you do not have any Operating Agreement to present. In this way, an Operating Agreement acts as a type of ID for the individual member or manager.

 
Elder Law

The term “Elder Law” refers to the areas of law that affect or relate to individuals who are older, disabled, or are approaching the end of their lives. There is not a “magic age” in which elder law concerns should be addressed. However, our firm encourages any individual age 50 or over to review his or her estate plan, including wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents.

The Law Office of Meghan Barnes, LLC, will work with and help our clients to make plans for the future. The future may entail a time period in which our clients are incapacitated and unable to make their own personal and financial decisions. Meghan Barnes will help guide her elder law clients as they work to provide for their families after death. We recognize the importance of arranging your affairs well in advance, preparing for a time when you may be unable to express your wishes.