Several different South Carolina inheritance laws could impact your right to receive property or what happens to your property after you pass away. In many cases, you can choose to set up your estate how you wish, but South Carolina law will control your property disposition if you don’t create a will or other estate planning documents.
South Carolina Intestacy Laws
Intestacy laws apply when a person dies without a will. If you create a will, for the most part, you can leave your property to anyone you want. You can give some or all of your property to family members, friends, or charities.
If you pass without a will, South Carolina intestacy laws decide how your property is distributed. The distribution depends on whether you are married and how many surviving family members you have.
If you have a spouse and no children, your spouse will inherit your entire estate. If you have a spouse and children, your spouse gets half and the remaining estate is split equally amongst the children.
If you have no spouse or children, your parents would receive your estate. If you don’t have a spouse, living parents, or children, then the intestacy laws will give your property to more remote relatives. If you have no living relatives of any kind, then the state of South Carolina will receive your property.
Other South Carolina Inheritance Laws
South Carolina does not levy an estate or inheritance tax. Large estates may be subject to the federal estate tax, and you may need to pay inheritance if you inherit property from someone who lived in another state.
You should also keep in mind that some of your property won’t technically be a part of your estate. For example, a jointly-owned bank account would pass to the joint owner. A retirement account would pass to the named beneficiary, regardless of whether you have a will or who the beneficiary is.
South Carolina also has laws that limit your ability to disinherit your spouse. If you created a will before you were married or while you were married that disinherited your spouse, the surviving spouse may still have a right to a portion of your estate.
The lawyers at King Law can help you plan for what happens after you’re gone, and we’re here to help you get a better sense of where you stand. We invite you to come in and talk with one of our attorneys in-person during a consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING (5464).