Greenville County
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Probate Court
Estate Division - FAQ
What does it mean to "probate" a will?

Probate means the Will is admitted as valid under South Carolina law. Informal probate admits the will as valid. Formal probate requires a hearing to confirm the validity of the will. If the will has erasures, white-out, or other markings, the Court may require a formal probate proceeding.

How do I know if I need to go through the Probate Court in Greenville County?

You file your proceeding in Greenville County Probate Court if the deceased meets any of the following:

  • Was a permanent resident of Greenville County; or,
  • Was a non-resident but owned property in Greenville County; or,
  • Has a right through his or her estate to commence legal proceedings in Greenville County.

What if the deceased did not have a will?

When someone dies without a will, the estate is called “intestate”. When this happens, the property of the deceased is distributed to his or her family in accordance with the intestacy statute found in Section 62-2-101 of the SC Probate Code.

Do I need an attorney to probate a will?

For formal probate or appointment, the services of an attorney are recommended. This requires the filing of a Summons/Petition/filing fee and then service of the pleadings on the interested parties. A hearing will then be set for presentation of testimony. Since a hearing is not required for informal probate and/or informal appointment, an attorney is not necessary in this case.

What is an Executor?

Before the law changed in 1987, a person appointed to handle an estate could have been called an Executor/Executrix or Administrator/Administratrix. Today the person appointed to handle an estate is called the Personal Representative or PR.

How does a Personal Representative get appointed?

Appointment of a Personal Representative is granted informally to a person who has priority under South Carolina law. Usually, the Personal Representative is named in the will by the deceased. However, priority can result through the will, by law, by renunciation, or by termination. Any person with priority may nominate another. A person without priority may only be appointed through formal proceedings. Following service of the formal Summons/Petition, a hearing will be scheduled to determine who is the appropriate person to administer the estate.

What are the duties of the Personal Representative?

The Personal Representative is responsible for collecting, protecting and administering the estate. This includes giving Notice to all interested parties, filing an Inventory of the estate, making sure assets are secure during probate time, paying required claims and costs, and making sure the proper people get what they are entitled to receive.

How do I get started?
  • Deceased must have been a resident of Greenville County;
  • Certified copy of Death Certificate;
  • Original Will + $10.00 filing fee;
  • If a Will and no property to probate, bring additional $10 for news ad, for a total of $20;
  • If a Will and property to probate (real estate and/or other property over 25K), bring the $10 in #3, and $46 for Notice to Creditors for a total of $56.00;
  • If NO WILL and the deceased did own property, just a Death Certificate is needed to get started. No filing fee is needed;
  • If NO Will and no property, no action is required. You don’t have to come to our office.

After review of your filings, our Court Information Specialists will provide you with required forms to get you started.

To learn more click on this link More on Getting Started