What is probate in South Carolina?
South Carolina residents have probably heard of the term “probate” or “probate court” before. But you might not know what probate is until you’re planning your estate or trying to manage a loved one’s affairs.
Probate refers to the legal process used to transfer property from the deceased to their living heirs. The process can be tedious and often expensive for surviving family members.
How long does probate court take in South Carolina?
Usually, families can expect the probate process to last around a year. The length of probate will depend a lot on the size of the estate and whether or not there was an estate plan.
A larger estate with many assets will take a long time to go through probate. Alternatively, if a lot of federal or state estate taxes are owed, that can also elongate the probate process.
Tips for making probate easier
You can do certain things to make it easier for your property to pass through probate. For example, transferring property ownership or assets while you’re alive will keep it from going through probate altogether.
A transfer-on-death beneficiary for your real estate properties and bank accounts – can keep certain items out of the probate process as well, or speed it up entirely. Estate planning tools like trusts can be handy for this process as well.
How an estate plan can help
Having a detailed estate plan can help speed the probate process along. A good estate plan will address all major assets and explain how they should be transferred to your surviving family members.
An estate plan should also be frequently reviewed and updated. An estate plan that doesn’t account for life events such as divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, the death of a beneficiary, or the acquisition of significant assets can cause complications.
Every estate will probably have to go through probate. Having a detailed estate plan can make it easier.