In general, when someone dies, the estate must go through probate which can be a complicated and lengthy process. But many states provide less complicated options for smaller estates.
South Carolina law provides for simplified probate when the value of the entire probate estate less liens and encumbrances does not exceed $10,000 plus exempt property, costs and expenses of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent. The decedent’s personal representative, after giving notice to the decedent’s creditors, may immediately distribute the estate to the persons entitled to it. A closing statement must also be filed with the court.
Another option in South Carolina for heirs or beneficiaries to inherit property is the use of an affidavit. The heirs or beneficiaries prepare an affidavit identifying the assets they are entitled to inherit. This option may be used when the entire probate estate, wherever located, less liens and encumbrances does not exceed $20,000. After a waiting period of 30 days, the beneficiaries simply present the affidavit to the holders of the decedent’s property and it will be transferred to them.