The Probate Process In South Carolina

Probate is the process of legally settling an estate. Someone is usually appointed as the executor or personal representative. If there is no will, then the court will appoint someone.

An executor or personal representative has the legal authority to:

  • Collect all of the assets owned by the estate
  • Pay all debts, bills and taxes
  • Distribute or administer the assets to the estate's heirs

The Purpose And Process Of Probate

The main purpose of probate is to ensure there is no fraud after someone's death. The estate is essentially "frozen" until the court (usually a judge) validates the will. This happens after all those affected by the will are notified.

In South Carolina, this usually includes a notice in the newspaper in the county of the person who died. This ad must remain for 15 days. There are essentially eight steps to the probate process in South Carolina (see below).

Does Every Estate Go Through Probate?

No. If an estate is a "small estate" it may not require court supervision to be settled. Not all assets are subject to probate. There are assets that transfer automatically upon a person's death. A lawyer with estate planning experience can assess whether an estate will require probate.

The Eight Steps Of Probate

  1. Our attorneys can help you file an application to be a personal representative (PR).
  2. Contact all beneficiaries about the estate within 30 days.
  3. File an inventory of all known estate assets within 90 days.
  4. Creditors must file a claim within eight months to one year.
  5. File an accounting and distribute property after all debts and costs are paid.
  6. Send and file paperwork within one year.
  7. Judge signs order.
  8. Case closed.

Get The Facts And Support You Need

First, know that you are not alone. At Hopkins Law Firm, LLC, we will work with you every step of the way to make sure you understand your rights and any obligations you have.

We will explain what needs to happen and how these steps are best undertaken. Should any step be missed or not properly carried out by creditors or the courts we will protect and defend your rights.

Talk To Us, We Can Help

Contact Hopkins Law Firm, LLC, at 843-314-4005 or email us. Meet with Pawleys Island attorney Bill or Clay Hopkins or Ian Taylor to get answers to your estate and probate questions. Call us to find out how our team of experienced, respected and successful attorneys can help you ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.