Carefully preparing a Will with the assistance of an experienced attorney is one of the most responsible things you can do for yourself and your family. In 40 years of practicing law, Dennis E. O’Neill has witnessed the heartbreak that can occur from the sudden loss of a beloved family member and the tremendous difficulty experienced by widows and children due to the lack of a valid Will for the deceased.

It has been our recommendation for many years that each of our clients prepare and execute a Will, Living Will, General Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney. With these important documents in place, you can help your family avoid the most common problems that occur in the event of the passing of a loved one without a Will, which are:

  1. Confusion and disputes as to who will be in charge of your Estate
  2. Confusion and disputes as to distribution of assets

It is important to know that the creation of a Trust does not eliminate the need for a Will. If you have children, it is critical that you have a Will.

Probate Administration in South Carolina

The administration of Estates in South Carolina is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Probate Court, as provided for in the South Carolina Probate Code Section 62-3-101. Estate administrators were long known as Executors or Executrixes, however, these terms were changed by the probate code revisions under the South Carolina Probate Code and since that date, the person appointed to probate an Estate is known as the Personal Representative.

Dennis E. O’Neill has assisted his clients in Estate administration since 1978 in the probate courts of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Horry, Colleton, Jasper, Beaufort and Georgetown counties.

It is the sworn duty of the Personal Representative to carry out the proper administration of the Estate. Among those duties are:

File Application/Petition for Appointment

  1. Deliver original Will
  2. Deliver original Death Certificate
  3. Pay filing fee
  4. Receive Certificate of Appointment
  5. Deliver Notice to Creditors to local newspaper for publication
  6. Deliver information to Heirs and Devisees — within 30 days of appointment
  7. File Proof of Delivery
  8. Prepare and file Inventory and Appraisement — within 90 days of appointment
  9. Receive Claims and pay or dispute same — 8 months from publication
  10. Prepare and deliver Deeds to any real property — Deeds of Distribution
  11. Prepare and file Closing documents — 8-12 months from date of publication:
  1. Interim Accounting
  2. Final Accounting
  3. Proposal for Distribution
  4. Petition for Settlement
  5. Notice of Right to Demand Hearing — sent to all interested parties with a copy of Accounting, Proposal for Distribution and Petition for Settlement
  6. File proof of delivery of items a to e above, confirming mailing of copy to all interested parties

When confronted by the enormity of the responsibility included in the tasks above, many of our clients hesitate to take on such a burden. However, our experience in handling the administration of Estates permits us to carry out the above tasks, on behalf of our clients, with ease and with the minimal burden upon the Personal Representative.

Contact O’Neill Law Firm, LLC

Contact Dennis E. O’Neill for a consultation on your wills and estate needs as soon as possible. Contact Dennis E. O’Neill at the O’Neill Law Firm, LLC, at (843) 884-9494. His office is located in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, three miles from the base of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, less than 10 minutes from the heart of Downtown Charleston.