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Conflict could arise if a person dies intestate

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Probate can be a complicated process even under the best of circumstances. When a person dies without having created a will or other estate planning documents, it can take more time and effort to properly close the estate. Additionally, rather than having the ability to work with the instructions left behind by a loved one, you would need to follow South Carolina state laws in regard to succession and property distribution.

Some people may choose not to create a will because they think it will allow their surviving family to avoid probate proceedings. However, that idea is a misconception. You and other family members will still need to go through the necessary legal proceedings.

Personal representative

Probate and estate administration need a personal representative for the estate in order to move forward. Without a will, the court will typically appoint a person to act as the administrator, and you could petition the court for this role, or the court may work to determine who has the most appropriate standing to take on the position. In some cases, conflict could arise if family members do not feel that the right person has been appointed or that the representative has not appropriately attended to the necessary duties.

Property distribution

When a person creates a will, he or she tends to name individuals as beneficiaries and indicates what assets those beneficiaries should receive. Without a will, state law for intestate distribution will need following. The order of distribution will depend on the surviving heirs identified by the court.

Some heirs may prove easy to locate and identify, such as the decedent's spouse or children, but if the deceased did not have a spouse or children, more distant relatives will need contacting. In the event that no heirs are located, the state will claim the entirety of the estate.

Property distribution can also become a touchy area with surviving loved ones as some individuals may feel that they should receive a portion of the estate, but state law may not dictate the notion as true. As a result, disputes and other conflicts could lead to litigation.

Handling administration and conflict

If you have been appointed or wish to take on the role of administrator of an estate, you may want to ensure that you understand your duties and the possibility of issues that could arise. As the representative, you would need to handle those conflicts, which may seem intimidating. Fortunately, you could seek professional assistance if desired.

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