How do I find information about the probate courts and probate judges around South Carolina?

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Check out the South Carolina Judicial Department website here for basic information about the courts and about the judges. Most of the forms you need are on the site as well.

 

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Do I need to leave anything in my will to my children?

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Recently, news broke that Jerry Lewis had disinherited several of his children. In South Carolina, there is no legal requirement to leave your children anything in your will.  Back in the day, many people would leave their children a nominal amount, say $5. That can create additional paperwork because your personal representative is then going to have to prove that the child received the funds. In some cases the child does not cooperate, particularly if there are hard feelings and they are only turning down a nominal amount. If you do not want to leave a child or children anything, it is best to just say so in the will and leave it at that. An attorney can usually help you do this correctly so that there is no question about your intent.

Tips for Personal Representatives

I thought that this article had some good tips for personal representatives (same thing as executors) so I thought I would share. Click  here.

The Wills Trusts and Estates Prof Blog is a really good resource for information on those topics, and I look forward to the daily summaries I receive from it.

 

Steps to take after the death of a loved one

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I recently came across this article from the California Probate Blog and it has some great tips about what to do after a loved one dies. Check it out here

The probate court can’t give you legal advice, but they can sometimes point you in the right direction. And, of course, you may want to contact an attorney with your questions. You may find it easier to let someone else handle the legal end of things.

In South Carolina, can I file my will with the probate court for safekeeping?

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In South Carolina, you cannot file a will with the probate court while you are alive. I believe at some point in the past the Courts had vaults to keep wills, but nowadays it is up to you to keep up with it. So, keep your will safe, don’t write on it, and let someone know where it is!

New Forms

Several probate forms have been updated. Here is a list.  If you need the forms themselves, either for probate or the other courts, you can look for them here.

 

Does the probate court give me the original will and death certificate back after I file them?

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No, in South Carolina the probate court keeps the original documents after you file them. If you are doing this on your own, you may want to bring an extra set of copies to the probate court when you file them. In the future, you can request a certified copy if you have need of one, as well.

If you have any questions or comments, or if I can help in any way, please feel free to call me at (803) 929-0096, or email me at mike@belserpa.com.

In South Carolina, when is my will effective?

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In South Carolina, a will is valid when it is executed. Usually, the will contains a provision revoking all previous wills.

Life Insurance Locator

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Many times life insurance is used to pay for burial expenses. Unfortunately, sometimes the heirs cannot locate the policy. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has launched a life insurance policy locator service that might help. Check out the service here.

In South Carolina, can I name a relative who lives out of state as personal representative in my will?

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Yes, you can name a relative or friend who lives out of state as personal representative. There may be some logistical difficulties, but we have helped many out-of-state personal representatives with South Carolina estates. As with all choices of personal representatives, make sure that they are able to handle the paperwork and that you completely trust them to follow your will.