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How does probate work in South Carolina?

Understanding how South Carolina probate works can help you make an estate plan that meets your needs. With this process, the court supervises the distribution of your estate assets and payment of obligations.

Review the basics about probate in South Carolina when writing your will or updating your estate.

Standard probate

The state requires standard probate only for estates exceeding $25,000 in value. Certain types of assets do not count toward the probate estate. These items can transfer to their intended inheritors outside the probate process:

  • Stocks, bonds and securities for which you have named a transfer-on-death beneficiary
  • Real estate that you hold in joint tenancy with your spouse or another person
  • Assets you transferred to the ownership of a living trust

Simplified probate

Your personal representative, who you name in your will, can pursue this route if your probate assets total less than $25,000. With this process, the representative submits your will to the local probate court. Your heirs can file an affidavit with the court to claim their inheritance after a 30-day waiting period.

In addition, the personal representative must file a publication with the local newspaper to advertise your estate to possible creditors. This ad must run for three consecutive weeks and gives creditors eight months to file claims against the estate for legal review.

It will take no longer than 12 months to probate an estate in South Carolina. In fact, the state requires probate to close within a year of the person’s death or eight months after the personal representative publishes the list of creditors of the estate.