What Happens if I Die Without a Will in South Carolina?

As a probate attorney in Summerville, South Carolina, I know the importance of a will. Without a will, you will be considered “intestate” when you pass away, which means dying without a valid will or assets not effectively distributed by your will. In this article, I will explain the purpose of intestate succession in South Carolina and what your family can expect to receive should you die without a will.

What is the Purpose of South Carolina Intestate Succession?

The purpose of intestate succession is for the State to create a plan of asset distribution that would have been similar to your plan had you created a valid will. Unfortunately, you may have created a will you thought to be valid, but after your passing is determined to be flawed. If you create a will, and it does not comply with South Carolina’s statutory requirements, your will may be declared invalid and intestate succession will then apply.

Will My Family Inherit Anything If I Die Without a Will in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the only assets that are affected by intestacy succession laws are those assets that would have been in your will had you created one. Intestacy laws, therefore, do not apply to property you might have transferred to a living trust, life insurance proceeds, funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement accounts. Also included is property you own with someone else in joint tenants with right of survivorship. These assets will instead pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named on the documents and will not be affected by not having a will.

How Much Will My Spouse Inherit if I Die Without a Will in South Carolina?

The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:

  • if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the entire intestate estate
  • if there are surviving issue, one-half of the intestate estate

One of the most common misconceptions is that all assets will pass to your surviving spouse first and then your children. This is not the case if your assets pass through South Carolina intestacy.

How Much Will My Children Inherit if I Die Without a Will in South Carolina?

If you die without a will in South Carolina, your children will receive a share of your property, and the size of the share depends on how many children you have and whether or not you are married. Issues arise, however, when lines become blurred in the family history.

How Does Intestacy Work in South Carolina if I Have No Spouse and No Children?

In the event you pass and have no living spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, your living siblings will inherit your assets. The line of succession continues from there to your closest living blood relative, which can get complicated the farther out you have to expand.

Contact the Watts Law Firm to create a valid will and you family will not have to wade through intestate succession. Protect your family and asset, create a will.