Even families that have a thorough estate plan in place must still follow certain legal procedures before they can distribute a loved one’s property. Navigating the South Carolina probate system comes with its own challenges, but an experienced probate lawyer can help. Contact Beth Santilli Law today to request a consultation.

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Understanding Probate

Probate is a legal term that refers to the process of distributing someone’s property after they pass away. When there is a valid will or trust in place, the property is generally distributed according to the terms of the will or trust. When there is not a will or a trust, South Carolina intestacy law defines the process. It is important to understand that while trusts usually do not have to pass through probate, wills are still generally required to go through the process.

What Happens During Probate in South Carolina?

The probate process allows for:

– The opening of an estate
– The court to recognize or appoint a personal representative
– Confirmation that a will is valid
– The assets of the state to be inventoried
– The notification of potential beneficiaries and creditors
– The debts and tax obligations of the estate to be paid
– The preparation and filing of the Deed of Distribution
– The appropriate distribution of the assets of the estate

The conflict and disagreements that may arise within a family during the probate process only adds to this stress of a loved one dying. When there is no will, these problems are only compounded, which is one reason that working with a probate lawyer is so important.

Avoiding Probate

Probate can result in the delay of the distribution of the assets of the estate, as well as additional expenses. For these reasons, most people would rather avoid the probate process altogether. Although this may not sound possible, it is. For example, trusts do not typically have to pass through the probate courts, so they are a great tool for ensuring the beneficiaries receive their fair share of the assets they deserve.

Even when someone understands the purpose of trusts, they still do not realize the many different types of trusts available. A living trust is established while the trustee, typically the person that created the trust, is still alive. Living trusts generally do not have to pass through probate. On the other hand, a testamentary trust is usually part of the deceased’s will and is established after a person’s death. As such, these trusts must still typically pass through probate.

Living trusts and testamentary trusts are just two of the different types of trusts a person can create. A Beth Santilli Law probate lawyer in Mt. Pleasant, SC can explain the different trusts available to you and advise on which one may be right for your family when creating an estate plan.

Get Legal Help Today

If you have not yet created an estate plan, now is the time to do so. At Beth Santilli Law, LLC, our Mt. Pleasant probate lawyers can advise on the most important aspects of your estate plan and help your family through the probate process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation so you can start planning for tomorrow.

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