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Hilton Head Law Firm


Estate and Probate

Estate Probate

If a person who resides in the State of South Carolina dies and owns any asset of value, either in his/her name alone or jointly with another person as tenants in common, such person’s estate must go through a legal proceeding. If he/she has a Will, it goes through a Probate proceeding; if he/she dies without a Will, it goes through an Estate Administration proceeding. In either case, a Personal Representative is appointed to collect assets, determine their value, ascertain outstanding debts and pay them, provide notice and information to the beneficiaries, manage the assets while under the Personal Representative’s control, account for all receipts and disbursements, and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. Estates must be kept open for 8 months from the date of creditor notification, during which time creditors can file claims with the Probate Court; any claim not filed within that time period is disqualified.

If the total value of the decedent’s estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption in the year of death, a federal estate tax return will have to be prepared and filed; taxes may or may not be due, depending upon the circumstances. There is currently no South Carolina estate tax.

In South Carolina, Wills are not filed with the Probate Court except at the time of death, but upon death they must be filed within 30 days.

Ancillary Probate

If a person who does not reside in the State of South Carolina dies and owns any real property in South Carolina, either in his/her name alone or jointly with another person as tenants in common, such person’s estate must go through a legal proceeding in South Carolina. If he/she has a Will, it goes through an Ancillary Probate proceeding; if he/she dies without a Will, it goes through an Ancillary Estate Administration proceeding. An Ancillary Proceeding must be undertaken while the primary proceeding, which takes place in the decedent’s state of residence, remains open.

We are ready, willing, and able to be of assistance with both estate probate and ancillary probate proceedings, and have been providing these legal services for almost 40 years.