Exempt property is property that a surviving spouse can protect from creditors of the estate. By allowing exempt property, the S.C. Code essentially guarantees a spouse that he/she will be able to maintain certain household furniture, automobiles, furnishings, appliances, and personal effects despite the amount of debt owed by the estate. The South Carolina Probate Code §62-2-401 was amended in January of this year to increase the personal property exemption from $5,000 to $25,000 making this a much greater protection. If there is no surviving spouse, minor or dependent children of the decedent are entitled jointly to the same value; however, adult children do not get the same benefit.
There are a few important points to remember if you wish to claim this exemption as a spouse or on behalf of your client.