Our blog has many times advised South Carolina residents about the importance of having a will or other estate planning document so that they can control how their wealth gets distributed after they die.
Just like other states, South Carolina has intestate succession laws. These laws specify how a person’s property gets distributed if the property isn’t otherwise being disposed of via a will or some other process.
The intestate succession laws will apply not only to situations where a person leaves no will but also to where a will is invalid or, even if valid, does not validly dispose of the property at issue.
In South Carolina, if a person is married, then the spouse will receive the entire estate provided the person who died had no children. If the person did have children, then in most cases, the spouse will receive 50% of the estate and the children will divide the remainder of the estate equally.
For someone who is not married, an estate will pass to his or her children or to each child’s children, and on down the line. For someone who is unmarried and has no children, the estate will pass to the person’s surviving parent or parents.
The laws get more complicated with respect to a person who has neither a surviving spouse nor children nor parents. Indeed, this post is itself only an introduction and summary of how South Carolina’s intestate succession laws work.
Closing out an estate where the deceased person left no will presents additional probate and estate administration problems which are probably best examined with the help of an experienced attorney.