If someone dies without a will in South Carolina, their estate is distributed through a legal process called intestate succession. 

In South Carolina, the rules of intestacy are laid out in the South Carolina code.  If you are curious about what would happen if you or a loved one passed away without a will, some of the basic rules are detailed below:

SPOUSE of the deceased:

    • You get the entire estate (100%) if you do not have any children, grandchildren, etc.
    • You get half of the estate (50%) and the children/grandchildren split the other half (50%) equally.

CHILD(REN) of the deceased:

    • If you are the only child and your deceased parent had no spouse, then you get the entire estate (100%). 
    • If you are the only child and your deceased parent has a spouse, then you get half (50%) and the spouse gets the other (50%).
    • If your deceased parent had no spouse and you are one of several children, then you split the estate into equal parts among yourself and your brothers and sisters. For example, if you are one of four children, you would take 25% of the estate.
    • If your deceased parent had a spouse and you are not an only child, then the spouse takes half (50%) and you split the remaining half with your siblings.  For example, if your married father dies and you have one sibling, then his wife takes 50% and you and your sibling split the remaining half equally (25% each).

GRANDCHILD(REN)

    • At this stage the rules get much more complicated.  In short, you may take a portion in two scenarios:
      • Your parent has died, but your aunt(s)/uncle(s) are still living 
      • Your parent and all of your aunt(s)/uncle(s) have died

Remember these rules apply only if the deceased individual passes away without a will.  Blackwelder Law encourages you to speak with an attorney if you have any questions about this process.