South Carolina Estate and Probate FAQs

Our Charleston Probate and Estate Attorneys have provided answers to some of the most common estate and probate questions they are asked, and we encourage you to read them. Remember, each estate is different, so to get the most accurate information concerning the probate of an estate in Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester Counties, please give our probate attorneys a call today.

What is Probate?

Probate is the court process that transfers property from the estate of a deceased person to the proper heirs or beneficiaries. Generally, the probate process consists of proving a valid will or determining who the rightful heirs are, gathering and inventorying probate assets, dealing with creditors, and distributing estate property.

Probate is required to transfer title of a deceased person’s property to his heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is required to transfer title things like vehicles, boats, stock certificates, bank accounts and real estate. During the process taxes are paid and debts are settled.

Where Should the Estate be Probated?

In South Carolina, Probate is done in the County where the deceased person permanently resided (domiciled) at the time of death. For example, the estate of someone who has died in Charleston County must be probated through the Charleston County Probate Court located in downtown Charleston. The Probate Court will have jurisdiction over all the personal property the deceased owned and all the real estate owned that is located throughout South Carolina.

How Long Does the Probate Process Take?

It depends on the size and nature of the estate. Very small estates can be probated quickly.  Others can take several months or years. Family conflict can also delay proceedings. A probate and estate lawyer can help to ensure that the probate process is done as quickly and efficiently as possible.   

Does all the Deceased’s Property go Through Probate?

Some types of property do not go through probate.  Property with a named beneficiary, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, usually do not need to a part of probate. Also, property owned in a joint tenancy with right of survivorship passes to the surviving owners without the need of probate probate.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Probate?

You are not required to hire a lawyer when dealing with someone’s estate. However, probate is a formal court procedure and the Probate Court staff cannot give you advice as to what you need to do throughout the process.  Also, making a mistake that causes delay can be frustrating and upsetting to other family members who are relying in you to protect their inheritance. A Probate and Estate Attorney can help to ensure that assets are distributed quickly and properly.  Also, probate lawyer fees may be able to be paid from the assets of the estate and not your own pocket.

Charleston, SC Probate and Estate Attorneys

Our Charleston Probate and Estate Lawyers handle estates in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. Our Probate Attorneys are willing to help you make sure your loved one's estate is handled properly and efficiently.  Please give our Charleston Probate and Estate Attorneys a call today to discuss your probate and estate issues.