The following are excerpts from South Carolina’s intestacy laws. Please reference the full body of the South Carolina Probate Code at the South Carolina Legislature for any changes to those laws that may not be reflected below.
You can also open the South Carolina Intestacy Evaluator℠ to see the distribution of a South Carolina intestate estate based upon any person’s unique family and financial circumstances.
South Carolina Probate Code
62-1-201. General definitions
Subject to additional definitions contained in the subsequent articles which are applicable to specific articles or parts, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this Code:
(3) ‘Child’ includes any individual entitled to take as a child under this Code by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes any person who is only a stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild, or any more remote descendant.
(11) ‘Estate’ includes the property of the decedent, trust, or other person whose affairs are subject to this Code as originally constituted and as it exists from time to time during administration.
(20) ‘Heirs’ means those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statute of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
(24) ‘Issue’ of a person means all his lineal descendants whether natural or adoptive of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definitions of child and parent contained in this Code.
(31) ‘Parent’ includes any person entitled to take, or who would be entitled to take if the child died without a will, as a parent under this Code by intestate succession from the child whose relationship is in question and excludes any person who is only a stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent.
(35) ‘Probate estate’ means the decedent’s property passing under the decedent’s will plus the decedent’s property passing by intestacy.
(37) ‘Property’ includes both real and personal property or any interest therein and means anything that may be the subject of ownership.
62-2-101. Intestate estate
Any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by his will passes to his heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this Code.
62-2-102. Share of the spouse
The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
(1) if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the entire intestate estate;
(2) if there are surviving issue, one-half of the intestate estate.
62-2-103. Share of heirs other than surviving spouse
The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under Section 62-2-102, or the entire estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes as follows:
(1) to the issue of the decedent: if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent they take equally, but if of unequal degree then those of more remote degree take by representation;
(2) if there is no surviving issue, to his parent or parents equally;
(3) if there is no surviving issue or parent, to the issue of the parents or either of them by representation;
(4) if there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or issue of grandparents, half of the estate passes to the paternal grandparents if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the issue of the paternal grandparents if both are deceased, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there be no surviving grandparent or issue of grandparent on either the paternal or the maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half;
(5) if there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, grandparent or issue of a grandparent, but the decedent is survived by one or more great-grandparents or issue of great-grandparents, half of the estate passes to the surviving paternal great-grandparents in equal shares, or to the surviving paternal great-grandparent if only one survives, or to the issue of the paternal great-grandparents if none of the great-grandparents survive, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there be no surviving great-grandparent or issue of a great-grandparent on either the paternal or the maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half.
62-2-104. Requirement that individual survive decedent for one hundred twenty hours
(1) For purposes of intestate succession, homestead allowance, and exempt property, and except as otherwise provided in subsection (2):
(a) an individual who was born before a decedent’s death but who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent. If it is not established that an individual who was born before the decedent’s death survived the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period.
(b) an individual who was in gestation at a decedent’s death is deemed to be living at the decedent’s death if the individual lives one hundred twenty hours after birth. If it is not established that an individual who was in gestation at the decedent’s death lived one hundred twenty hours after birth, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period.
(2) This section does not apply if it would result in a taking of the intestate estate by the state under Section 62-2-105.
62-2-105. No taker
If there is no taker under the provisions of this article [Sections 62-2-101 et seq.], the intestate estate passes to the State of South Carolina.
62-2-106. Representation; disclaimer by intestate beneficiary
If representation is called for by this Code, the estate is divided into as many equal shares as there are surviving heirs in the nearest degree of kinship and deceased persons in the same degree who left issue who survive the decedent, each surviving heir in the nearest degree receiving one share and the share of each deceased person in the same degree being divided among his issue in the same manner. If an interest created by intestate succession is disclaimed, the beneficiary is not treated as having predeceased the decedent for purposes of determining the generation at which the division of the estate is to be made.
62-2-107. Kindred of half blood
Relatives of the half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.
62-2-108. Afterborn heirs
Issue of the decedent (but no other persons) conceived before his death but born within ten months thereafter inherit as if they had been born in the lifetime of the decedent.
62-2-109. Meaning of child and related terms
If, for purposes of intestate succession, a relationship of parent and child must be established to determine succession by, through, or from a person:
(1) From the date the final decree of adoption is entered, and except as otherwise provided in Section 63-9-1120, an adopted person is the child of an adopting parent and not of the natural parents except that adoption of a child by the spouse of a natural parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and that natural parent.
(2) In cases not covered by (1), a person born out of wedlock is a child of the mother. That person is also a child of the father if:
(i) the natural parents participated in a marriage ceremony before or after the birth of the child, even though the attempted marriage is void; or
(ii) the paternity is established by an adjudication commenced before the death of the father or within the later of eight months after the death of the father or six months after the initial appointment of a personal representative of his estate and, if after his death, by clear and convincing proof, except that the paternity established under this subitem (ii) is ineffective to qualify the father or his kindred to inherit from or through the child unless the father has openly treated the child as his and has not refused to support the child.
(3) A person is not the child of a parent whose parental rights have been terminated under Section 63-7-2580 of the 1976 Code, except that the termination of parental rights is ineffective to disqualify the child or its kindred to inherit from or through the parent.
If a person dies intestate as to all his estate, property which he gave in his lifetime to an heir is treated as an advancement against the latter’s share of the estate only if declared in a contemporaneous writing signed by the decedent or acknowledged in a writing signed by the heir to be an advancement. For this purpose, the property advanced is valued as of the time the heir came into possession or enjoyment of the property or as of the time of death of the decedent, whichever first occurs. If the recipient of the property fails to survive the decedent, the property shall be taken into account in computing the intestate share to be received by the recipient’s issue, unless the declaration or acknowledgment provides otherwise.
62-2-113. Persons related to decedent through two lines
A person who is related to the decedent through two lines of relationship is entitled to only a single share based on the relationship which would entitle him to the larger share.
62-2-114. Limitation on parent’s entitlement as intestate heirs to estate proceeds; failure to provide support for decedent during minority
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the parents of the deceased would be the intestate heirs pursuant to Section 62-2-103(2), upon the service of a summons, petition and notice by either parent or any other party of potential interest based upon the decedent having died intestate, the probate court may deny or limit either or both parent’s entitlement for a share of the proceeds if the court determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the parent or parents failed to reasonably provide support for the decedent as defined in Section 63-5-20 and did not otherwise provide for the needs of the decedent during his or her minority. If the court makes such a determination as to a parent or parents, the parent shall be a disqualified parent. The proceeds, or portion of the proceeds, that a disqualified parent would have taken shall pass as though the disqualified parent had predeceased the decedent.