What Happens if You Do Not Have a Will in South Carolina

  1. Estate Planning
  2. What Happens if You Do Not Have a Will in South Carolina

When one dies without a will in South Carolina, one is considered to have died intestate. Intestacy laws signal that your inheritance is passed on based on South Carolina Intestacy laws. Generally, intestacy laws will pass your inheritance on to your next of kin, also known as “heirs.” In the case that you are married, your spouse would take the entirety of your property. However, if you die with a spouse and children, then your spouse would take half of your property and the other half would go to your children. If you do not have a spouse, but you have children, then your children will receive the entirety of your property. For those whose children and spouses have preceded them in death, their grandchildren may inherit the entirety of the property. Parents of children, who are not married and do not have children, will inherit their child’s property. Those who do not have next of kin will have their property passed to the government as unclaimed property. Due to the law’s strong focus on anyone who is remotely related, the government rarely ever claims a deceased’s property.   

While children may receive a share of the deceased’s property, who can claim shares as children is more complex. Under S.C. Code Ann. §62-2-109, legally adopted children will receive an intestate share the same as biological children. Conversely, so, children you placed for adoption and legally adopted by another family will not receive an intestate share. Further, foster children and stepchildren, who have not been adopted, do not automatically receive an intestate share. Children born outside of one’s marriage can be tricky. S.C. Code Ann. §62-2-109 states that children born outside of marriage may receive an intestate share in the following situations: (1) the deceased participated in a marriage ceremony that was later found to be void; (2) paternity was established before the deceased’s death; or (3) paternity was legally established within eight months after the death or six months after a personal representative was appointed to the deceased’s estate. S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-108 states that children conceived before the deceased’s death may receive a share as long as they are born within ten months after the deceased’s death. S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-106 allows for grandchildren to receive a share if their parent, the deceased’s child, has died and is no longer able to receive their share. 

Furthermore, South Carolina has laid out additional intestacy laws to determine if one will be able to inherit intestate shares. According to S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-104, one must outlive the deceased by 120 hours to recover through intestate succession. S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-107 makes it so that half-relatives, like half-siblings, may inherit the same as full relatives. Relatives, who are not the deceased’s children or direct descendants, born after the deceased has died, cannot inherit the deceased’s property. Next, S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-112 states that relatives, no matter their legal immigration status, are entitled to an intestate share. 

South Carolina’s intestacy laws are quite expansive. The best way to determine where your shares go is by creating a clear and valid will. Our team of attorneys in North and South Carolina is here to help you craft your will. Further, if your loved one died without a will, and you think you are entitled to a share of their property, King Law’s team of attorneys in North and South Carolina are here to help you. Call us today at 888-748-KING (5464) to schedule a consultation.

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