The Process of Estate Administration

Charleston Estate Planning | Estate AdministrationSomeone who has executed a last will and testament will generally need to file the document in court, regardless of whether or not probate is required. If the probate process is in fact required, then the executor named be the will  must file a petition to probate the will and be legally appointed as the executor. Without a simple will, irrevocable trust, revocable trust, or testamentary trust, the executor will be appointed by the probate court provided that a petition to probate the will is still filed. The South Carolina estate administration may be completed after a six-month period expires only if no tax estate tax return is required. If an estate tax return is required to be filed, then the South Carolina estate administration process can be completed only after the IRS approves the estate tax return – typically 15 months to two years after the date of death.  Distributions of personal property may be made immediately.  Other distributions of tangible, intangible and real property, may be made just before the estate administration is complete.

Property Not Subject to Probate

Assets, such as life insurance, that name a beneficiary (other than the estate) are not subject to probate proceedings and may be paid to the heir before the estate administration is complete. Also, assets held in joint tenancy, such as residence, an automobile, a checking account or a joint ownership trust, will pass on automatically to the survivor or beneficiary.

Estate Administration and the Probate Court

Probate will be necessary if an individual’s estate includes any ownership of reals estate, whether owned individually or as a tenant in common, or if the value of the individual’s personal property and assets passing through his or her will or by intestacy exceeding $100,000.  The following types of South Carolina probate are available:

  • Summary Administration
  • Independent Administration
  • Supervised Administration