The South Carolina probate process can be confusing, especially for those who have just lost a loved one and are beginning to fulfill duties as the executor of the will. Your South Carolina probate attorney can assist you with all aspects of the probate process and help make the experience as smooth as possible. 


What is Probate?


Probate is essentially a “settlement” of the decedent’s estate and is governed by the instructions left behind in the will. When a person dies, he leaves behind assets, property and debts. The executor is responsible for making sure the requests left in the will are fulfilled. The probate court is responsible for overseeing the process, which includes handling claims by creditors. Creditors are generally given six months from the date of notification of probate to make a claim. Probate courts also manage tax liens or debts attached to the estate. 


What if There is no Will?


If there is no will, the probate court will distribute property based on South Carolina’s laws of intestacy. Intestacy is a statutory framework for distributing property that the court will use when it has no other instructions. If the person dies with a spouse and no surviving heirs or parents, the spouse inherits the entire estate. Intestacy provides additional instructions for situations in which the decedent is survived by his children or parents. If the decedent dies without a spouse, parents or children, the estate passes first to surviving siblings, then grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so forth. 


 Costs and Time


Many executors are understandably frustrated by the length of time and costs associated with the probate process. As your South Carolina probate attorney will explain, the average probate process takes approximately seven months to complete. This number can vary significantly depending upon the size and complexity of the estate. The costs and fees incurred during the probate process will also vary depending on the situation, and your South Carolina probate attorney can review this with you in greater detail. 


For more information or to speak to a qualified South Carolina probate attorney, contact Steadman Law Firm, P.A.