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.
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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.
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.
In South Carolina, a valid will does not expire. However, it is a good idea to revisit your estate planning (wills, powers of attorney, beneficiary designations) after any life changes such as births, deaths, divorces, and the like.
There are two important deadlines. First, In South Carolina, a person has a duty to deliver a will to the probate court within 30 days of knowledge of the testator’s death. A person who intentionally destroys, conceals, or fails to deliver a will can be liable for damages. However, often it takes longer to get the probate process started for various reasons, and sometimes it takes longer than 30 days even to find a will. Barring any fraud, bad faith or delay because someone doesn’t like what the will says, the probate court is usually understanding. Second, in South Carolina you only have 10 years after someone dies to probate their estate. After 10 years you will have to take other action, and many times an attorney can be helpful in going through your options.
UPDATED POST: Under certain circumstances, if you entered into such an arrangement before July 24, 2019, South Carolina will recognize a common law marriage. You are probably going to want, or need, to talk to an attorney about your situation sooner or later. Every situation is different. From a legal standpoint, the South Carolina Supreme Court says the following:
Often people ask me how much probate costs in South Carolina. There are a number of factors that go into the cost, but the one people seem most concerned about are filing fees. The cost to get the process started and to advertise in the newspaper varies by county (in Richland to get started it is $45 or $150 to file and $55 to advertise):Here is a list of the fees you can expect (I copied it from the Richland County, South Carolina website).
South Carolina Probate Estate Fee Schedule
|Size of the Regular Estate||Filing Fee|
|$0.00 to $4,999||$25.00|
|$5,000 to $19,999||$45.00|
|$20,000 to $59,999||$67.50|
|$60,000 to $99,999||$95.00|
|$100,000 to $599,999||$95.00 plus .0015 in excess of $100,000|
|$600,000 and above||$845.00 on the 1st $600,000 plus .0025 in excess of $600,000|
Small Estate Affidavit or Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property
|Less than or Equal to $100.00||$17.50|
|$101.00 to $4,999.99||$30.00|
|$5,000.00 to $19,999.99||$50.00|
|$20.000.00 to 25,000.00||$72.50|
|Includes $5.00 certification fee|
*Pursuant to SC Code of Laws §8-21-770
Possible Additional Fees:
|Copies per page||$.50|
|Filing Demand for Notice||$5.00|
|Issuing Certified Copies||$5.00|
|Filing Conservatorship Accounting||$10.00|
|Filing of a Will only||$10.00|
|Will Filed only Advertising Fee||$35.00|
|Certifying Appeal Record||$10.00|
|Probated Will Filing Fee||$10.00|
|Order Issued without a Hearing||$15.00|
|Issuing Exemplified/Authenticated Copies||$20.00|
|Recording Authenticated or Certified Copies||$20.00|
|Reopening Closed Estates||$22.50|
|Application/Petition for Special Administrator||$22.50|
|Application for Successor Personal Representative||$22.50|
|Advertising fee for creditor’s claims (required by state law)||$55.00|
|Copy of an entire estate file on CD||$52.50|
|Any Summons and Complaint or Petition||$150.00|
|Affidavit for Access to Safe Deposit Box||$22.50|
|Affidavit to Obtain Bank Balance||$22.50|
In South Carolina, some assets go through probate and others are not affected by probate. As far as your house or other real estate goes, if the deed to you and someone else contains the phrase “as joint tenants with right of survivorship and not tenants in common” in the right places, then when one person on the deed passes away the other will be the owner without having to go through probate. If the deed does not contain the survivorship language, then the portion owned by the person who died will have to go through probate. If you are worried about your house going through probate, it is worthwhile to have an attorney check the language in it and advise you about your options.