Probate is the name for the process wherein assets are transferred from someone who has passed away to his or her heirs. In South Carolina, the law requires that if the decedent had a will, it must be delivered to the Probate Court within 30 days after his or her date of death.
No matter how small you think your estate will be, it’s important to prepare a will or open a trust. Talking with a South Carolina estate planning attorney can help you ensure all your affairs are in order and your express wishes are carried out upon your death.
How Do You Know When You Have to Go Through Probate?
There are different types of probate, depending on whether it’s classified as a regular estate or a small estate. Regular probate matters include estates with real property, like a home or other real estate, and/or personal property that totals more than $25,000. Small estates are for estates that are valued at less than $25,000 and do not include any real property. Take note: small estate probate matters cannot be opened until after more than 30 days have passed since the decedent passed away.
Do You Need an Attorney for a Probate Matter?
Probate courts cannot provide legal advice and it’s not uncommon to see regular estates that run into complex legal issues along the way. It is in everyone’s best interest that you have a South Carolina probate attorney. A probate attorney can handle filing all the court documents and handling complications along the way, like familial disagreements or someone contesting the will, etc.
What If the Person Who Died Did Not Have a Will?
If a person dies without a will, it’s referred to as being “intestate.” Under the law, the decedent’s property will be transferred to the rightful heirs.
What Is a Personal Representative and How Does it Differ from an Executor?
A personal representative is the same as what was typically called an executor in the past. This is the person who has the responsibility to administer an estate. A personal representative is typically nominated in the decedent’s will. If there was no personal representative named, the probate court will determine who should be the representative – usually the next of kin.
How Long Does it Take for an Estate to Go Through Probate?
Probate matters vary based on complexity and whether any issues arise, like disputes. In general, a regular estate will go through probate for about one year, provided all paperwork is filed on time. With a small estate, it could be closed within a day or two, but as a reminder, you can’t even start a small estate probate until 30 days have passed since the decedent passed away.
What Documents Are Needed When Opening a Probate?
When you prepare to open an estate, you need to have documents like the original will, it cannot be a copy, and the original death certificate.
If you need to create a trust or ensure you have a will drafted, contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm to schedule a consultation.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.