First, we offer our sincere condolences for the loss of your spouse, grandparent, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin or friend. We understand the great difficulty the passing of a loved one can cause. We are here to help you. One reason I ran for Probate Judge was to help people and make them aware that probate does not have to be a totally unbearable experience. Accordingly, the following information concerning the statutory requirements of probating an estate is furnished to assist you. Please do not hesitate to ask specific questions about any problem encountered which is not explained here. The staff of this Court will be happy to furnish assistance and information to the extent allowed by law. Beyond that, seeking legal counsel is always recommended. One estate clerk is assigned to your case from beginning to end. Please direct all inquiries to your estate clerk. Appointments are required because of the volume of cases we handle and our limited resources. If your assigned clerk is unavailable when you telephone, it is important that you leave a message (include your name, telephone number, case name, file number, and reason for your call). Keep in mind that each estate clerk has over 500 estate cases in process. We are here to help you but because of limited resources we must ask that you do your share of the work as outlined in the attached procedures.
Another reason that I ran for Probate Judge was to stress the need for estate planning. We hope that you will take this opportunity to review your estate planning documents. You should consider a Last Will and Testament, a Declaration of Desire for Natural Death (otherwise known as a Living Will), a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and a Durable Power of Attorney for Business Affairs. You need legal counsel to complete your estate planning. For the reason 'Why you need a Will' please call the South Carolina Bar Law Line toll-free at 1-800-521-9788 ext. 160. As a public service we provide the statutory Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney. If you need these documents please ask one of our Clerks to provide them to you. We hope that you will take this opportunity to review and update your estate planning documents and that you will encourage other family members to do so also.
As your Probate Judge I am here to serve you. If you should have questions, comments, or suggestions please let me know. I thank you for electing me to be your Probate Judge and hope that we help make probate a pleasant experience considering the circumstances.
Irvin G. Condon
Alison V. Atwood, Probate Clerk of Court- Estate Division
Sharon Clark, Estate Clerk
Mary A. Hollenbaugh, Estate Clerk
Jamie A. Robinson, Estate Clerk
Tleshia T. Schoenith, Estate Clerk
Robin B. Simmons, Estate Clerk
Upon receipt of the Inventory, a Court cost will be assessed and billed. See Probate Court fees on the attached back sheet.
The filing of returns and/or payment of any South Carolina and Federal estate taxes or income taxes are the responsibility of the Personal Representative.
Also, while debts or claims may be paid at any time by a Personal Representative, you may incur personal liability if any preferred creditor is damaged or injured by such payment. Claims which are not valid claims may be disallowed through proper procedures.
The 30-day period can be waived if a Waiver (Form 111ES) is signed by all interested parties.
* Any Formal Petition filed with the Court must be accompanied by a Summons (Form #SCCA401PC) and $150.00 filing fee. Once service has been accomplished, a Proof of Delivery (Form #120PC) must be filed with the Court.
If the decedent did not have any assets in his/her name at the time of his/her death but did have an original Will, you must turn the original Will into the Probate Court to be filed for record only (Form #306ES). An original Death Certificate is required an a filing fee of $10.00. If filing for informal Probate of Will o nly, you will need to file Form #300ES, original Death Certificate, and a filing fee of $25.00. If you require Medical Records only for the decedent and no probate assets have been discovered and you have priority to serve, you must file a completed Form #300ES, original Death Certificate, and a filing fee of $12.50.
Please call the Probate Court at (843)958-5030 for any additional questions and prior to coming to the Court in order to avoid being turned away due to the lack of having all required documentation. You are encouraged to make an appointment prior to coming to the Probate Court. Thank you.
South Carolina code section 8-21-770(B) states fees for Estate and Conservatorship proceedings are determined on the gross value of probate assets as follows:
|Less than $5,000.00||$25.00|
|$5,000.00 but Less than $20,000.00||$45.00|
|$20,000.00 but Less than $60,000.00||$67.50|
|$60,000.00 but Less than $100,000.00||$95.00|
|$100,000.00 but Less than $625,000.00
plus .15 Percent of the property valuation between $100,000.00 and $600,000.00
|Property valuation of $625,000.00 or higher amount set forth in (5) about plus 1/4 of 1% of the property valuation above $600,000.00.|
|Note: Non-Probate assets are not part of the fee calculation|
|Filing Will for record only||$10.00|
|Recording certified Estate records from other Counties||$20.00|
|Recording exemplifications from Out-of-State||$20.00|
|Issuing Exemplified/Authenticated copy||$20.00|
|Appointment of Successor/Subsequent P/R Trustee or Special or Temporary Administrator||$22.50|
|Approval of Settlement Order (Minors/Incompetents)||$150.00|
|Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem||$3.50|
|Marriage License fee||$70.00|
|Certified copy of Marriage License||$5.00|
|Reforming or Correcting marriage record||$6.75|
|Certified Copy of Estate record||$5.00|
|Filing Conservatorsihp accountings||$10.00|
|Filing demand for notice||$5.00|
|Certifying Appeal records||$10.00|
|Filing the initial petition in any action or proceeding other than above, same fee as charged for filing civil actions in Circuit Court||$150.00|
|Copy machine copy||$0.50|
|Certificates of appointment (After initial four)||$0.50|
|Filing affidavit for collection of personal property under section 62-2-1202(A), the fee pursuant to item (1) above based upon property valuation shown, provided that where the property valuation is less than $100.00 the fee shall be one-half the amount otherwise provided.|
|The costs of the notice to creditors or other legal advertisement are in addition to prescribed Court costs and are due and payable prior to publication of advertisement.|
Accountings - Reports that contain the annual and final fiscal reports showing what has come into the account and the disbursements that have gone out of the account.
Affidavit of Collection - A way to handle the assets under $10,000 and it cannot include any real estate.
Beneficiary - A person or charity or dog or cat that receives assets that were pre-directed to the individual.
Bond - What the Personal Representative must purchase from an insurance company if there was not a Will or if someone demands it. The Personal Representative must purchase a bond for one and one half times the amount of the personal property only.
Certified - Attested true copy of a document from our Court with seal. Cannot certify any document that does not originate from our Court.
Conservator - One who takes care of the finances of a minor or incapacitated person.
Decedent - The person who died.
Devisee - Someone who is named in a Will to receive.
DOD - Deed of Distribution (Transfers real estate to the legal heirs or devisees).
Domiciled - Where the person lived.
Encumbrances - Debt of the estate that is attached to an asset. Example: Mortgage on a house, loan on a car, etc. (NOT everyday debt like doctor bills, credit card payments, etc.)
Estate Papers - The original probate papers such as Wills, inventories, letters, accountings and related papers.
Guardian - One who takes care of the physical well being of a minor or incapacitated person.
Health Care Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows another party to handle the health decisions of another person.
Heir - Someone who takes from an estate if there is not a Will.
I/A - Inventory and Appraisement (Yellow Form) - Listing of the assets (both probate and non-probate) that the decedent had in his/her name at time of death and date of death values.
Intestate - When someone dies without a Will.
In Trust - When someone directs assets to be set aside for a persons benefit.
Living Will - A legal document that allows a party to make medical decisions about another person's continuation of life prior to death.
Non-Probate Assets - Assets that are not used by the Personal Representative to pay debt of the estate or to distribute to heirs or devisees. These assets usually have a beneficiary, payable on death, or joint right of survivorship status.
Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows another party to handle the business affairs of someone else.
PR - Personal Representative (Person in charge of the estate) Use to be called executor or executrix.
Probate - The legal process of wrapping up a person's affairs, paying their bills distributing their assets after death.
Probate Assets - Assets that are used by the Personal Representative to pay debt of the estate or to distribute to heirs or devisees. These assets do not automatically go to another party at time of death.
Pro Se - Someone who defends himself without an attorney.
RTSC - Rule To Show Cause - being summoned to court to tell the Judge why you have not complied with the duties of Personal Representative.
Rule 4 - Administratively closing an estate by Court order.
Special Administrator - A person chosen to take the place of a personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate. This person is usually an attorney.
Testate - When someone dies with a legally valid Will before death.
Venue - Where someone lives.
Will - A legal document that states the wishes of a person at the time of his/her death.
Will Books - Recorded transcripts of original probate Wills that give information about proving the Will and qualifying the personal representative.
Will For Record - When a party files an original Will with the Court after someone dies and there are no assets to transfer.
Please Note: These files are currently only available in Word Perfect format.
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