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Probate & Estate Administration

The Floyd Law Firm PC > Practice Areas > Practice > Probate & Estate Administration
Probate & Estate Administration

Probate & Estate Administration

At the Floyd Law Firm, we stand ready to assist you with the challenges and demands of the probate process. We have years of experience in helping to guide clients through the court process, and we will do whatever we can to assist you.

The death of a parent, spouse, grandparent, or other loved one is a most difficult period for family and friends. It is a time of sadness, grief, and loss, and unfortunately it is also a time when the estate of the deceased person must be assembled, valued, and distributed according to the person’s Will or state law.

Estate administration, or probate, is the process in which a personal representative is appointed by the Probate Court to identify and value the deceased person’s property, pay the debts, and distribute the property to beneficiaries. The probate process involves numerous court forms, filings, and accountings that are often complicated and stressful to complete. Probate also requires the personal representative to meet court deadlines, give required legal notifications, and convey homes and other real property to the heirs and beneficiaries. If your loved one owned his or her assets through a well drafted and properly funded living trust, it may be that no court-managed administration is necessary. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate, the local rules, and the schedule of the probate court.

Each probate is different, but the following steps are typical of the process:

  • A petition is to be filed with the proper probate court
  • Proceed with notification to any heirs
  • A petition is filed to appoint an Administrator (if no Will exists) or an Executor (when a Will has been made) for the estate
  • The Executor or Administrator takes an inventory and has an appraisal made of any estate assets
  • Payments of any debts to the estate are made to creditors
  • A sale is held to liquidate the estate assets as needed
  • Any pending estate taxes, if applicable, are paid
  • Remaining assets are distributed to heirs

Assets that are “non-probate” assets include:

  • Revocable Living Trust property in which legal title to such property passes to successor trustees without probate
  • Retirement accounts such as 401(k) and IRA accounts that already have designated beneficiaries
  • Life insurance policy accounts assigned to designated beneficiaries
  • The Executor or Administrator takes an inventory and has an appraisal made of any estate assets
  • Property for which the deceased owns title with another person as “joint tenant with right of survivorship”
  • Bank accounts designated as “in trust for” or as “pay on death” or jointly owned with “right of survivorship”

The cost and length of time to complete probate can vary.

The duration and the costs involved with probate depends on several factors. The majority of estates may be settled through probate and administration within months to a little over a year, unless there is some litigation involved. The complexity of the estate, the value of assets, the capability to locate heirs and relatives, whether a Will exists or not, and the location of the property that is owned by the estate all affect the speed and difficulty of the process. Expenses that probate can incur include appraisal costs, executors’ fees, accounting fees, surety bonds, attorney’s fees, and court fees. Disputes with any creditors or contested Wills may add time and expense.

The assigned Executor must fulfill his or her fiduciary duties with integrity on behalf of the estate as they could be held liable for negligence for not properly managing the estate assets in their care. Executors are reimbursed for their legitimate out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the process of managing and distributing the assets of the estate. They are advised to seek out an accountant and retain an attorney for assistance with their responsibilities.

Probate & Estate Administration Attorneys serving Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach and throughout South Carolina

We offer tailored probate and estate administration services to help with each step of the way. We work with tax experts and other professionals as needed to ensure that we are able to best serve your specific situation.

At The Floyd Law Firm PC, we are focused on each individual client’s needs no matter how complex or straightforward. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our firm has been helping people work through difficult estate administration duties calmly and methodically.

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