Monthly Archives: October 2014

Will the State of South Carolina get my estate if I die without a will?

The short answer is, although it is theoretically possible, probably not. The State of South Carolina is far down on the list of possible places where your estate goes. If you die without a will in South Carolina it is called dying intestate. Under the laws of intestacy, if you only have a surviving spouse, he or she inherits everything. If you have a spouse and children, then the spouse gets one half and the children split the other half (for example, if you have three kids, they are entitled to one sixth each.) If you only have surviving children, then they will split everything. Each predeceasing child’s share gets split amongst their children. After that, there is a whole intestacy scheme of who gets what when. (Another good reason to do a will). The state, though, is far down the list.

This blog is for information only. It is not legal advice, and I am not your attorney just because you are reading it. If you have any questions, contact an attorney for a full discussion of the issues that may be relevant to your situation.

A few more comments on durable powers of attorney.

Here are a few odds and ends about durable powers of attorney in South Carolina:

  • In order for a power of attorney to be effective after the principal is incapacitated, it needs to be filed with the register of deeds. South Carolina is one of only a couple of states that require filing.
  • A principal can name co agents to serve. However, bear in mind that (1) sometimes it creates confusion for the financial institution as to whether one agent or the other can do things alone, (2) if the co agents don’t get along it might defeat the purpose of the power of attorney, and (3) logistical difficulties can arise if the agents live in different places (two signatures may be required on checks and other legal documents.)
  • A principal can name successor agents-that is, if the first can’t or won’t serve, someone can take their place.

As a reminder, this is not intended to be legal advice, and I am not your attorney just because you are reading it. Contact an attorney if you have any questions.