Losing a loved one can be one of the most challenging events in life. In addition to the emotional pain of the loss, the person closest to the dearly departed is usually the one who must administer the Estate. With all the grief involved with the loss, the task of inventorying, appraising, safekeeping, and finally distributing the Estate can bring a great deal of trepidation. Personal Representatives, or those charged with Estate administration, are accountable for all the legal requirements involved, and to the beneficiaries of the Estate. Though many in Orangeburg SC will hire an Estate lawyer to handle the legal technicalities, it is still important to know the basic requirements of administration in order to ensure things are done correctly.

Within a few days after the loved one has passed, the person designated by Last Will and Testament as Personal Representative should probate the Will and request appointment as Personal Representative (PR). If there is no Will, the person closest to the dearly departed should file in intestacy and request appointment as PR. In either case, the County Probate Judge) of the residence of the dearly departed) must order the PR appointment. Other interested parties can contest that appointment, though if the PR is designated in the Will it is highly likely the Judge will appoint. In intestacy, the surviving spouse has priority, followed by children (children would have equal rights, and each may be appointed).

After the PR appointment, the next step is for the PR to inform heirs and devisees of the Estate (heirs are those who would take in intestacy, and devisees are those designated as beneficiaries by the Will) and to begin the Inventory and Appraisement of the Estate (which must be completed within 90 days of appointment as PR) and notice must go out to creditors. Creditors have eight months to make a claim on the Estate, or they lose the right to come back. This means the Estate must remain open for eight months from the notice to give time for the creditor period to pass.

Once the creditor period has passed, the Estate Lawyer (or PR without a lawyer) will begin to close the Estate. This is the part that can become a bit complex and must be done correctly to allow for Probate to close the Estate without liability against the PR. There must be a Deed of Distribution executed and registered with the Registry of Deeds for any Real Property of the estate. This allows for a chain of title from the dearly departed to the devisee(s) of the Real Property. The PR must account to the penny for all money and other assets that came in the Estate, and were then redistributed by the PR. The PR must also account for expenses he paid for the Estate, and up to a 5% PR fee (5% of the gross value of the Estate) that the PR can claim for himself. He must sign a proof of delivery that he has mailed the Accounting, Application for closing, Amended Inventory and Appraisement, and a Notice of Right to Hearing to all heirs and devisees of the Estate. That gives them notice they have 30 days to contest the accounting or any other closing document.

At this point, the PR or the PR lawyer takes the Estate closing packet: Application for Settlement, Deed of distribution (if applicable), Accounting, Proof of Delivery, Notice of Right to Hearing, Amended Inventory and Appraisement (normally, there will be modifications to the initial). After 30 days, assuming no request for hearing to contest the closing, the Probate Judge will sign an order closing the estate. If assets have not already been distributed, they are distributed with a Receipt and Release With Waiver. Thus closing out the Estate.

Estate Lawyers in South Carolina will be doing all the above, and they can be paid as an expense of the Estate from Estate funds. In some cases, houses and other real property may be sold during the administration, causing delays. However, it is important that the PR supervise the process and understand they are personally liable and accountable for the Estate. With the basic information, PRs should be able to understand the process and ensure their loved one's wishes are honored.
If you need an Estate Lawyer in Orangeburg South Carolina call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today!

Bill Connor Orangeburg Attorney Bill Connor received his Bachelor of Arts from The Citadel in 1990, and after serving for over a decade as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army, including three deployments to the Middle East, he received his Juris Doctorate from The University of South Carolina in 2005. In 2012, Bill was honored to receive an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the top peer rating for American lawyers. Receiving this rating at such an early point in his career is unheard of among lawyers.

The Bill Connor Law Firm

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Orangeburg, SC 29115

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