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Charleston Probate Attorneys

Representing Clients During the Probate Process in Charleston

When someone passes away, there is a legal process that oversees the administration of their estate. This process is called probate, and there are dedicated courts that preside over this type of case. Probate is different for each case, depending on the circumstances of the deceased and whether they had estate planning documents. Complications might arise, which can cause delays and extra expenses for an already grieving family.

Whether you are the personal representative of an estate or an interested party in the will with possible legal concerns, it is important to have the right legal guidance from Charleston probate attorneys. Contact the team at Weeks & Irvine, LLC, to discuss your situation.

Probate With or Without a Will

One factor that will determine the details of the probate process is whether the decedent had a valid last will and testament in place. The will should be submitted to the proper court, which will determine if the will is valid. If so, the personal representative designated in the will is tasked with the estate administration process. Property distributions will also be made in accordance with the will provisions.

If the decedent did not have a will, they died intestate, and the probate will proceed slightly differently. First, the court will determine, based on the priority set by law, who can be appointed as Personal Representative. When selling Real Property out of an intestate estate, there are additional considerations. Having an estate plan in place can certainly make the probate process faster and simpler than passing away intestate.

The Probate Process in South Carolina

While each probate case might have its own complexities, the general process in South Carolina includes the following:

  • Opening the estate with the probate court
  • Confirmation by the court that the will is valid and authentic
  • Confirming or appointing a personal representative
  • Taking inventory of all estate property and assets
  • Notification to potential beneficiaries
  • Notification to creditors
  • Satisfying the debts of the estate
  • Filing and paying taxes
  • Filing a properly prepared Deed of Distribution
  • Distributing the remaining property and assets of the estate to the proper beneficiaries

Not surprisingly, many personal representatives have no experience navigating the probate process. Estate administration can be complicated and time-consuming, and many personal representatives might – understandably so – need assistance. Our Charleston probate attorneys are ready to assist you and your family through this process.

Possible Probate Litigation

Legal concerns can be raised during probate by beneficiaries, heirs, or other parties with possible interest in the estate. One common complication occurs when one or more parties file a claim with the court challenging the validity of all or part of the will in question.

There are different reasons for will contests, including:

  • Lack of mental capacity of the testator
  • Undue influence by another party
  • Fraud or coercion induced the signing of the will
  • There is a more recent will that supersedes the will filed with the probate court
  • The will was not properly executed

Whether you are someone who would like to raise a will contest or a personal representative tasked with defending the will, it is critical to have representation by a probate lawyer during this type of claim.

Probate litigation can also arise if beneficiaries or heirs have concerns about the conduct of the personal representative. Claims for breach of fiduciary duty might arise, and both parties should have experienced probate lawyers on their side.

Contact Our Charleston Probate Attorneys for More Information

At Weeks & Irvine, LLC, we know that even a straightforward probate case can be overwhelming and confusing for family members who recently lost a loved one. Our probate attorneys are ready to assist you with a wide range of probate matters, so please contact us to learn more about our services today.