ESTATES

Dear Sir or Madame:

 

Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your loved one. We want to do all that we can to make the probate process as simple as possible for you. Below you will find basic information regarding the probate process, and attached to the links below are several documents that we hope you will find helpful as you open the estate of your loved one. Please note, this process applies only to an individual who was a resident of Calhoun County at the time of his or her death.

 

WHAT IS PROBATE?

Probate is the legal process whereby a will is "proved" in a court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased.  Simply put, going through probate is how you are able to transfer assets out of your deceased loved one's name, and into the name(s) of their heirs. The granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will. An estate can (and should) still be probated even if a Last Will and Testament does not exist.

 

DO I NEED TO OPEN AN ESTATE, AND IF SO, WHAT KIND?

Please explore the links below to determine what type of estate you need to file.  Please note, that if there is a Last Will and Testament, the will should name who will be responsible for administering the estate (the “Executor” or “Personal Representative”) . If there is not a will, South Carolina law determines who is “in line” to handle this responsibility. Please contact the Probate Court for help in determining who this person will be.

 

WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN?

 

Many people are eager to start as soon as possible, while others are not emotionally prepared to begin this process. We understand that every family differs and do not set strict requirements as to when you must open the estate. The guides in the links below should help you determine the appropriate time for your family.

NOW WHAT?

Once you have read this information, gathered the necessary documents, and completed the Probate Court Worksheet, please return these items to the probate court. We will then prepare the legal paperwork using the information you have provided, and will contact you to schedule an appointment to have you come in to meet with the judge. This appointment will afford you the opportunity to sign the prepared paperwork, ask any questions that you may have, and address any concerns you may have regarding the estate.

 

Please note the following:

We encourage you to make an appointment to open an estate- If you do not make an appointment, there is no guarantee that you can be seen that day, or not have to wait to be helped. These appointments typically require a minimum of 30 minutes to one hour of your time.

 

In conclusion, we hope that this site has provided you with the basic introduction to the beginning of the probate process in Calhoun County. We look forward to assisting you with the opening, administering, and closing of your loved one’s estate. In the meantime, please know that our sympathy is with you and your family during this difficult time. Should you have any questions or need forms, please contact our office.

 

Sincerely,

Kathy Strickland Brown

Judge of Probate

Types of Estates

Full Estate

(Informal) 

Decedent Owned Real Estate or had Assets over $25,000.00

  • Personal Representative is appointed.

  • Remains open for 9-12 months.

  • Should be opened within 30 days of death.

Small Estate

Decedent did NOT own real estate, and assets were below $25,000.00

  • No personal representative appointed

  • Opens and closes same day.

  • Can not be opened until 30 days have passed from the date of death.

Formal Proceedings

Usually due to

litigation / wrongful death

  • legal representation needed

  • $150.00 filing fee

  • notices sent to all parties