Generally, probate is the process which transfers ownership of assets from a decendent to their heirs after death. This process is important as it enforces the ownership of private property of an individual and their ability to determine the transferrence of that property beyond their lifetime. Private property rights are a cornerstone of Western Civilization, and respect for those rights helps to maintain our liberties.
In South Carolina, the probate process is done through the South Carolina Probate Courts, which handle all matter relating to estates, wills, trusts, adult guardianship and conservatorship, property transfers in estates, and more. Each county has its own probate court. Probate Courts charge fees for their functions and are considered "trial courts."
If a person dies without a will, they have died "intestate" and the probate process will determine ownership according to South Carolina law. If a person dies with a will, they have died "testate." When one "probates a will," they are opening a new file (estate) with the Probate Court and initiating the process of probate, where the final wishes of the decedent are carried out. Property ownership will be given according to the will's instructions. If a person dies without a will, and/or if there are no heirs, then property may ultimately 'escheat' to the State, meaning the State will retain final ownership. This should be avoided.
Lowcountry Legal Solutions can help by creating an estate plan which avoids the probate process and the fees involved. It is generally estimated that $500,000 in probate assets can cost as much as $10,000 to probate. It is far cheaper, simpler, and easier to put a probate avoidance estate plan in place.