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Who gets an estate’s assets if there is no will?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Probate

In South Carolina, a person closely related to a person who has died is their heir and gets their assets. The court will give the entire estate to the closest heirs if someone dies without a will, assuming that person or persons outlives them by at least 120 hours. South Carolina Probate Code Title 62 states the law that judges must follow.

Family but no will

If a person is married when they die, their spouse will get all the assets. There are no common-law marriages in South Carolina, so couples who live together are not considered under this law. If there is no spouse, the person’s parents get the assets if they are alive. If they are dead, the assets pass to the person’s children. In the case where there are no living parents, spouse or children, the judge will keep going down the family tree.

For example, grandchildren would be considered next, followed by great-grandchildren. If there is more than one person when an heir is found, the assets are divided equally. Heirs who are half-blood get the same share as those who are whole-blood. If babies arrive within 10 months, they inherit their share of the estate as if they were alive when the estate was settled. Finally, if parental rights were legally terminated, the person is no longer eligible to be an heir.

No heirs

The probate court will give the state the assets if a person passes without heirs that survive them by at least 120 hours. In that case, they must continue looking for any heirs.

The closest relative receives the assets from a person if they outlive them by at least 120 hours. If no heirs can be found, the assets go to the state.