South Carolina law affords surviving spouses important rights and benefits. In order to preserve all rights and benefits granted under the law, a surviving spouse must adhere to time-sensitive deadlines provided by statute. The failure to meet one of the probate deadlines can cause a surviving spouse to lose one or more spousal entitlements.
What if a Spouse Dies Without a Will?
What is an Omitted Spouse?
Elective Share or Election Against a Will
Pursuant to Section 62-2-401, the surviving spouse is afforded important property rights and exemptions under South Carolina Law. Specifically, the law provides that certain property may be considered exempt property, thereby passing automatically to a spouse regardless of intestate succession laws or the terms and provisions of a will. In fact, South Carolina amended the personal property exemption in January of 2014 so that up to $25,000 worth of property may be exempt. The surviving spouse of a decedent “is entitled from the estate to a value not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars in excess of any security interests therein in household furniture, automobiles, furnishings, appliances, and personal effects.” Section 62-2-401
Survival by 120 Hours
For the purposes of intestate succession, homestead allowance, and exempt property, the surviving spouse must survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours. A surviving spouse who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours will be deemed to have predeceased the decedent.
Social Security Death Benefit
Requirement to File a Known Will
Pursuant to Section 62-2-901, after the death of a testator, a person having custody of a will of the testator shall deliver such will, within thirty days of actual notice or knowledge of the testator’s death to the judge of the probate court in that jurisdiction.
What If I Cannot Afford a Probate Lawyer to Represent Me In Procuring My Surviving Spouse Rights?
Contact the probate lawyers of Clark Skatoff for a no-obligation consultation at (561) 842-4868.