We get calls and emails regarding lost Probate Court forms. These usually come on bank holidays or after hours when the court is closed and someone has finally decided to work on the estate but can’t find their forms. While the court is always happy to mail out new forms, the best strategy is to save this link and have them available to download 24/7. The forms are identical statewide so it’s not important which county the estate is in. This is also useful so that you don’t have to worry about writing on forms or messing up an online version by entering data.
These are the five (5) common forms people request:
300ES – This form is used to open an estate under either the formal or informal process. Called an application or petition for probate.
305ES – This is one of the first forms needed to inform heirs and devisees of the opening of an estate. Called information to heirs and devisees.
352ES – There are a lot of legitimate reasons that estates need additional time to file certain documents. the estate might have tax issues, pending litigation or other factors that require an extension of time. This is the form you file to let the court know what’s going on and get permission to file your paperwork later.
361ES – This is the accounting form. The same form is required regardless of whether this is a final accounting or an interim accounting.
410ES – Before most estates can be properly closed, you need to submit a proposal for distribution which lets the court and beneficiaries know what the plan is to close the estate. This is the required form.
South Carolina Probate Court is a form driven court and many estates can be administered without legal counsel using only these forms. However, if you have any questions about these forms or need to consult with an attorney regarding special issues in the area of probate, please contact us.
Many times people contact our office because a Will has been found among their deceased loved one’s belongings. A common question is what the next step is. The movie depiction of the family attorney reading the Will seldom occurs these days. Instead, the process of administering and distributing the Estate occurs through the process of probate.
Probate of a Will in South Carolina may be either an informal or a formal proceeding. Formal proceedings are subject to more court scrutiny and may be useful in certain circumstances. However, in this post, we will look at the more common informal probate process.
Probate begins by filing the Will along with an Application and certified copy of the Death Certificate with the Probate Court. The Application is a state-approved form, the 300ES. This filing is done in the county where the decedent resided prior to their death (if you are unsure, see our earlier post on this topic). In some cases, the decedent may have property in more than one county or state. In those instances, probate still begins in the county of residence, but may also be conducted where the other property is located.
The Application provides the Probate Court information regarding the decedent, the Will, and the Personal Representative. Once the application is received and processed by the Court, the probate process has officially begun and a Personal Representative is appointed to administer the Estate. We have discussed some of the duties of the Personal Representative in prior posts here and here.
If you have been nominated as Personal Representative in a loved one’s Will, an experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure you perform your duties properly.