What Happens if You Die in South Carolina Without a Will?
You may be wondering what happens if you die in South Carolina without a will. If that happens, your surviving spouse will get 50% of your estate, and your children will get the other 50%.
On the surface, this sounds fair, and you might think it’s not a problem. But if you die intestate (without a will), you may be creating problems for your family.
When the spouse and the children don’t agree
Consider this scenario:
A husband and wife have been happily married for several years; it’s a second marriage for both. They both own the house they live in together, which is worth $200,000. When the wife dies, half of her half of the house (that is, 25%) goes to her husband. He now owns 75% of the house. The other half of her half of the house (the other 25%) is split among her three children from her first marriage. Collectively, they own 25% of the house.
The husband can’t afford to make the mortgage payments on the house now that his wife is gone; he has no choice but to sell. If he gets an offer for $200,000 and he receives 75% of that, he can pay off the mortgage. But the children tell him they want $100,000 of the $200,000, or they won’t sign the deed.
What can he do? Without their cooperation, he can’t sell the house. If he doesn’t sell, it will go into foreclosure. If he sues the children to force them to sell, by the time the matter is dealt with in the courts, he will have lost the house to foreclosure anyway.
So he sells the house and takes the loss.
The situation above could have been avoided if his wife had left behind a will.
Make your estate plan today
In the example above, the children didn’t get along with their stepfather. But even relationships that have always been solid can go sour when there’s money at stake. And when you begin to add in multiple children from different marriages, it gets even more complicated.
Dying without a will may burden your family with the stress of having to deal with your estate without knowing what your wishes were, all while coping with a huge personal loss. Fortunately, creating an estate plan isn’t difficult. Call Gem McDowell or his associate Lauren Turowetz at (843) 284-1021 to set up an appointment to discuss your estate plan today.