Myrtle Beach Probate Lawyer

Probate Attorney in Myrtle Beach

What is Probate and How to Probate a Will in South Carolina?

Probate of a will or estate administration is the process to distribute property of a deceased loved one through probate court according to a will or by law if there is no will. We can help clear up problem areas you may face before, during or after the pendency of your probate case.

Probate attorneys and probate lawyers can help you with the probate of a will and a number of problems you may find when dealing with the Probate Courts. Estate administration is only one way that a probate lawyer or probate attorney can help. There are a lot of problems listed below that may or may not require court action. Our probate lawyers can help resolve these issues, save money, get your case closed and help the family move on from death.

For Personal Representatives or Executors

Common problems you can find in your probate case include:

  • Drafting and filing a deed of distribution: when you need one, drafting and where to file.
  • Dealing with creditors: how to use the law to protect from creditors
  • Paying bills and beneficiaries properly: there is a priority for who gets paid and when
  • Accounting: keep beneficiaries properly informed to avoid disputes

For Beneficiaries

How to ensure your interest in an estate or by Will is protected.

  • Requesting an accounting from a probate case
  • Get a copy of a probate will
  • Get copies of probate court records
  • When to expect payment: there is a certain amount of time
  • What filings you should receive and how to request the information
  • When and how to request a hearing to get things done

For Creditors

Unfortunately, you may need to jump through some hoops, but we can help.

  • Determining whether the estate can afford to pay
  • How and when to properly file a claim: theres is a limited time to file.
  • How to deal with a disallowance: filing for allowance of a disallowed claim
  • When to negotiate a creditor's claim
  • Requesting the sale of property to fulfill your claim

Probate Process in South Carolina

The South Carolina  Probate Courts provide a number of forms that you can use to manage your case. This page outlines when these forms are used as a general resource for you. There are a number of reasons that your situation may require a probate court lawyer. We are here to help should you need it. Simple probate matters can be handled by most people. A probate court lawyer can help you in probate litigation to  petition the court to dispute a will, collect property or defend an estate from creditors.

Please do not hesitate to Contact Us. We can even help you determine whether you actually need a probate attorney.

Probate in South Carolina - What You Need to Know

There are a myriad of options depending on your situation but generally your going to need the Probate Court to distribute probate property after the death of a friend, family member or someone else.

Probate

- Property passing with or without a will that is not passed by some other means such as a contract (life insurance). Whether an estate needs to be probated can be determined by an attorney (Contact Us or Submit Your Case) or with help from the Probate Court.

Your options as a Personal Representative (Executor/Executrix) (Generally):

Collection by Affidavit

- estate is less than $25,000, but you need formal paperwork to collect property, paychecks, etc.

Informal Probate

 - Most common way to probate an estate that is greater that $25,000.

Summary Probate Administration

 - informal probate where the PR is the only heir.

Formal Probate

 - You think that there is going to be protest of a will or disagreement as distribution of the property. A hearing is required for the Probate Court to issue an order. You can start out with one type of probate, but end up with another. For example you thought you wouldn't have a disagreement so you apply for an informal probate. Because a disagreement arises you may need to petition for a later hearing.We highly recommend against using these forms without proper representation.

Initial Filings Depending on Your Type of Case

Collection by Affidavit - estate is less than $25,000, but you need formal paperwork to collect property, paychecks, etc.
Form 420ES Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/420ES.pdf
Death Certificate

Informal Probate - Most common way to probate an estate that is greater that $25,000.
Form 300ES Application/Petition for Probate/Appointment http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/300ES.pdf
Death Certificate

Summary Probate Administration - informal probate where the PR is the only heir.
Same initial filings as informal probate
With waivers or under certain other conditions, closing estate only requires an Affidavit (See Closing)

Formal Probate - You think that there is going to be protest of a will or disagreement for the distribution of the property or you need to prove that a will is the true and accurate statement of the Deceased's wishes. A hearing is required for the Probate Court to issue an order.
Form 300ES Application/Petition for Probate/Appointment http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/300ES.pdf
Form SCCA401PC Summons http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/SCCA401PC.pdf
Death Certificate
Petition for requested relief (not a court provided form, dependent on case)

You may have additional questions about general power of attorney. The resources here are designed to provide general information not normally provided by the state, your local library or on the web. You can also find specific discussions about issues in probate in our SC Legal Info Law Blog to help determine if a general power of attorney is right for you.

If you would like help in estate administration, please contact Morris Law LLC.

Within 10 Days of Initial Filing

Collection by Affidavit - estate is less than $10,000, but you need formal paperwork to collect property, paychecks, etc.

-none-

Informal Probate - Most common way to probate an estate that is greater that $10,000.

Form 370PC Notice to Creditors 

http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/forms/pdf/317PC.pdf

Not required within 10 days but to run for 3 weeks consecutively after appointment of PR

Summary Probate Administration - informal probate where the PR is the only heir.

- none-

Formal Probate - You think that there is going to be protest of a will or disagreement as distribution of the property. A hearing is required for the Probate Court to issue an order.Form SCCA402CP Affidavit of Service http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/forms/pdf/SCCA401PC.pdf

Due 30 Days of Initial Filing

Collection by Affidavit - none - 

Informal Probate - Must send out a notice with proof of mailing that an estate was opened.
Form 120PC Proof of Delivery http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/120PC%20(1-2014).pdf
Form 305ES Information to Heirs and Devisees http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/305ES.pdf

Formal Probate
- Same as Informal Probate - 

Due 90 Days of Initial Filings

Collection by Affidavit - estate is less than $10,000, but you need formal paperwork to collect property, paychecks, etc.
- none - 

Informal Probate - Most common way to probate an estate that is greater that $10,000.
Form 120PC Proof of Delivery http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/120PC%20(1-2014).pdf
Form 350PC Inventory and Appraisement http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/350ES%20LF.pdf

Summary Probate Administration - informal probate where the PR is the only heir.
- none-

Formal Probate - You think that there is going to be protest of a will or disagreement as distribution of the property. A hearing is required for  the Probate Court to issue an order.
- Same as Informal Probate - 

Closing The Estate

Collection by Affidavit - estate is less than $10,000, but you need formal paperwork to collect property, paychecks, etc.
Form 120PC Proof of Delivery http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/120PC%20(1-2014).pdf
Form 421PC Verified Statement to Close Estate http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/421ES.pdf​

Informal Probate - Most common way to probate an estate that is greater that $10,000.
Form 412PC Application for Settlement http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/412ES.pdf
Form 560PC Accounting Cover Form http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/560PC.pdf
Form 562PC Accounting Short Form http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/562PC.pdf
Form 410PC Proposal for Distribution http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/410ES.pdf
Form 403PC Receipt and Release http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/403ES.pdf
Form 400PC Deed of Distribution http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/400ES.pdf​

Summary Probate Administration - informal probate where the PR is the only heir.
Form 120PC Proof of Delivery http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/120PC%20(1-2014).pdf
Form 421PC Verified Statement to Close Estate http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/421ES.pdf

Attorney's Consideration and Other Matters

There are a number of instances where an attorney can provide guidance to resolve a probate matter.

Taxes:

Estate Tax Returns

Decedent's Persona Income Tax Return

Estate's income tax return

Creditor claims:

Filing claims for Creditor

Form 371PC Statement of Creditor's Claim http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/371ES.pdf​

Jurisdiction: are you properly before the right court.
Which probate procedure is quickest, most affordable and appropriate for the estate.
Creditor practice: allowing or disallowing claims
Collection of property with or without court action
Petitions: for formal or informal probate to request relief from the court. These matters could include actions for the PR or against the PR
Beneficiary disputes: protesting a will, breach of duty by the PR
Hearings practice: how to prepare and present your case before the court. 
Negotiations: negotiating disputes or property transfers
PR duties and responsibilities
Survival actions: lawsuits that can be brought by the estate on behalf of the decedent.
Extensions of time for filing: Form 352ES Motion for Extension of Time
Nonprobate collections: collecting property for beneficiaries from life insurance, joint accounts, joint real estate transfers
Ancillary probate: filing in SC for transfer of real estate or collection of property
Property transfer: deed drafting, execution and proper filing with the Register of Deeds, including deeds of distribution.

Deed of Distribution

Form 400PC Deed of Distribution (DoD): http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/400ES.pdf

There are a number of questions to my office regarding deeds of distribution. Real property in probate requires a deed of distribution to complete a proper transfer. A DoD is required by the probate court, but does not actually evidence the transfer of property. A DoD actually releases any purported interest in the property by the PR. Actual transfer of the property occurs at the time of death. A Probate Court may not close an estate without a properly filed DoD. The DoD is similar to a regular deed, and therefore care should be taken with drafting and execution.

Please Contact Us or Submit a question for information for help drafting and proper execution of a Deed of Distribution.

Don't confuse a transfer deed or title to real property with a Deed of Distribution. If multiple beneficiaries receive a piece of land, for example, it may be easier when closing an estate to transfer the interest of multiple beneficiaries to a single beneficiary. This is not accomplished by a deed of distribution, but rather a transfer deed. Proof of transfer of property interests may be required for the settlement agreement or proposed distribution agreement. The type of deed needed depends on the situation. A DoD will be needed in addition to the transfer deeds to close the estate.

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