In a previous post, we discussed the Personal Representative’s duty to inform by issuing the Information to Heirs and Devisees. This is a state prescribed form, 305ES. Today, we will look at this form from the recipient’s perspective.
This form is sent to both the heirs and the devisees of the decedent’s estate. The heirs are the decedent’s heirs under the intestacy statute. We discussed South Carolina’s intestacy scheme in previous posts. Devisees are those individuals named in the decedent’s Will. If you have received one of these forms, you fall into one of these groups. Receipt of this form does not guarantee you will inherit from the estate.
In some cases, the heirs and devisees overlap significantly. For example, the deceased may have a surviving spouse and children. Their Will divides the estate between the spouse and children. In this case, all the heirs are also the devisees. If the decedent died intestate, or without a Will, then there will be no devisees, and only the heirs at law will receive the form.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive anything from the estate. The function of this form is to notify these groups of potential recipients that an estate has been opened and where it has been opened. It also lists the name and contact information for the appointed Personal Representative. Once you receive the form you should consider yourself on notice and take any steps necessary to protect your interest in the estate. This is not the time to “sit and wait” as many actions must be filed within six (6) months from the date the Personal Representative was appointed.
Ultimately, whether you receive anything from the estate depends not only on the terms of the Will, whether or not you are an heir or devisee, the outcome of any litigation and any creditor’s claims. If you’ve received one of these notices, it’s wise to schedule a consult with an attorney who handles these issues so you can be aware of your rights.
Cindy Besio says:
February 2, 2016 at 5:58 PM
What does “For Record Only” mean? I’m not as interested in what’s in the will as to who’s in the will. But when we inquired after it today we were told it was not to open for probate. How does that work?
Tiffany Provence says:
February 4, 2016 at 12:03 PM
Thanks for reading Cindy. In South Carolina a will can be filed for the record only which means they are filing the will but not moving forward with the opening and administration of the estate. There are several reasons someone might do this – some of them legitimate and some of them questionable. That being said, a will filed for the record only becomes a document of public record so you should be able to go to the Court and get a copy of the will (at your expense). Reviewing might help you understand both what and who is an interested party in this matter. Please feel free to give us a call at 843-871-9500 to set up a consult with one of our attorneys if you need assistance.