When you make a will, the process is similar in every state. However, it is the differences that are crucial. Each U.S. state has its own laws that dictate what is required for a will to be recognized as valid. South Carolina is no different, and it’s important to understand what the specific statutes. Otherwise, you might have a will that the court does not consider valid. When you make an online will in South Carolina, be sure you understand what you need to do to finalize and execute a valid will. If you choose to use an online will making service, you also want to make sure you use a template that is customized for the state.
Can I Make a Will Online in South Carolina?
Yes, you can make a will online in South Carolina. To do so, use an online will making service. Our lawyer reviewed multiple online wills to find the best online will making service. USLegalWills delivered the highest quality online last will and testament.
When you make a will in South Carolina, you must meet the following legal conditions for the will to be valid:
- You must be at least 18 years of age (or a legally emancipated minor).
- You must be of sound mind.
- The will must be in writing.
- You must sign (or acknowledge) the will in front of two witnesses.
- The witnesses must sign the will.
After making an online will, you must print it out and sign it. Some states allow a digital-only will, which means the will can be made online, signed, and witnessed electronically without making a paper copy. However, most states still require a paper copy with physical signatures. The state of South Carolina does not allow digital-only wills.
While having an “interested” person (a named beneficiary in the will) act as a witness does not invalidate your will in South Carolina, it is recommended that both your witnesses are “disinterested” to avoid potential legal challenges.
Does South Carolina Require a Notarized Will?
South Carolina does not require you to notarize your will in order for it to be valid. However, like many states, South Carolina does allow for your will to be “self-proved.” It is generally recommended that you “self-prove” your will, in order to help the court quickly validate your will when it is presented to probate. If your will is not “self-proved,” the court has to call upon the witnesses who signed the will to testify to the authenticity and validity of the will. This can cause delays, especially if the witnesses cannot be located.
To “self-prove” your will in South Carolina, you and your witnesses make sworn statements (affidavits) before a notary public. It is these affidavits that are notarized and attached to your will. Once these are attached to your will, it is considered “self-proved.”
You can find the form for a “self-proving affidavit” for South Carolina here. Once you attach this to your will, the court can usually accept your will as valid automatically—without requiring witnesses to testify as these affidavits act as sworn testimony—which speeds up the probate process.
Can I Name an Executor in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, an executor can be named in an online will. The executor is the person designated to settle the estate and ensure that the will is followed after the Testator’s death. If an executor is not named in the will in South Carolina, the probate court will appoint an executor to handle the estate. It is best to name someone as the executor in your will; if the court has to appoint someone, it may cause delays. You should pick someone you know well and you trust; be sure to talk to them before you name them in your will, to make sure they are up to the job.
To be qualified to serve as an executor in South Carolina, the person:
- Must be at least 18 years old,
- Must be of sound mind, and
- Cannot be a probate court judge in the same jurisdiction, unless the judge is a family member and serving as executor “does not interfere with any official duties.”
While many states prohibit those with felonies on record to act as an executor, South Carolina does not prevent this. You are free to name any competent adult that meets the above requirements to act as your executor.
South Carolina does not impose any additional requirements on out-of-state executors. You are free to name someone who lives out-of-state, but for practical purposes—the process for settling an estate can sometimes take weeks, months, or even longer—it might be better to consider choosing someone who lives nearby.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in South Carolina?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in South Carolina. However, those with large estates or more complicated wills should always consult an estate planning attorney. But in most cases, if you have a relatively simple estate and a straightforward will, online will making is a good option. Choose an online will making service that offers templates designed for South Carolina, and be sure that you follow all the legal requirements to execute a valid will.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in South Carolina?
If the will meets the statutory requirements for a will in South Carolina, it is valid whether it is made online or not.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in South Carolina?
If the will is written by hand and only signed by the Testator (the person making the will), it is known as a holographic will. Holographic wills, by definition, have no attesting witnesses—it is the lack of witnesses that generally cause holographic wills to be rejected when presented to probate.
Though some states recognize holographic wills under certain conditions, these types of wills often face delays in probate; when people handwrite their will, they often forget to include important provisions, use unclear language, or forget to include necessary language to indicate testamentary intent. Holographic wills also need to be proved authentic, requiring witnesses to testify to the handwriting.
In South Carolina, holographic wills are not considered legally binding unless the will was executed in a jurisdiction that recognizes holographic wills.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in South Carolina?
A nuncupative will is an oral will. Some individuals wish to leave oral wills on video. Nuncupative wills are considered to be a last resort type of will; sometimes they are known as “deathbed wills.” Although there are some states that allow nuncupative wills to be admitted to probate, it is usually only under very narrow circumstances.
South Carolina does not recognize nuncupative wills. For a will to be accepted into probate in South Carolina, it must: be in writing, signed by the Testator, witnessed and signed by at least two witnesses.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in South Carolina?
A living will is a legally enforceable document that provides instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care—while a last will and testament is a separate legal document that outlines a person’s desires for their estate after death. A last will and testament, whether made online or not, is not the place to leave medical directives and end-of-life care instructions. That is because a last will and testament is normally not read until after the funeral, which means that if you placed such instructions in it, your family would be unaware of them. Aside from that, any medical directives/end-of-life care stipulations left in a last will and testament would not be legally enforceable. Both a living will and a last will and testament have different requirements to be recognized as legally valid. Like you can a last will and testament, you can make a living will online. For more information about living wills in South Carolina, you can go here.
The overall requirements for a living will to be valid in South Carolina are that the declarant must be at least 18 years of age, and the living will must be signed and dated in front of two witnesses as well as in front of a notary public. Other conditions regarding living wills in South Carolina are:
- They are not effective during a pregnancy.
- A terminal condition must be certified by at least two physicians.
- A permanent state of unconsciousness can only be declared after at least 90 days or by a high degree of medical certainty.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in South Carolina?
If a person dies without a will, South Carolina’s intestacy laws dictate what happens to that person’s estate. It can turn into a complicated, lengthy legal process. South Carolina will appoint a guardian for any young children as well as an executor of the estate to settle debts and distribute property. The estate will be distributed between surviving family members in accordance with South Carolina’s intestacy distribution laws; property is frequently held up in the probate for months at a time.
It is especially important to make a will when you have minor children. In the event that something happens to you, you want to make sure that your children are provided for—and it is always best to have a will in place when you own real estate. If you make a will in South Carolina, it can make the entire probate process move quicker as well.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in South Carolina?
In addition to choosing an executor for the estate, the following provisions can be added while creating a will online in South Carolina:
- Property or donations to people or organizations.
- Appointment of a guardian for minor children.
- Designate someone to oversee any property left to minors.
- Designate a trustworthy person to care after any pets.
- Determine who receives family treasures and sentimental things.
- Make requests regarding sentimental or personal goods.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in South Carolina?
A last will and testament is not the appropriate place to leave end-of-life care or funeral arrangements. When a person dies, funeral plans are usually made right away. Following the funeral, the will is read to begin settling the estate. If funeral directions are included in a will, family members may not be aware of them. Any medical directives or end-of-life care stipulations left in a will are not enforceable.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, you want to create a living will.
You do not have to make any formal document for funeral instructions—you can simply speak with a family member about your wishes. But you can write up a document that details your wishes, making it easier for your family to plan the funeral. Be sure to give copies of this document to the executor of your estate and other trusted family members.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in South Carolina?
Because a will is a legally binding document, made online or otherwise, it is important to know how to change or revoke it. There are many reasons why a person needs to change or revoke their will—and it is generally recommended that you revisit your will every few years, to make sure there is nothing you should add or change. It is a good idea to revisit your will after any major life event—such as marriage or divorce; birth or adoption of a child; acquisition of significant assets; or relocation to a new state or country—to check if you should make a new will or add any changes.
If you need to make major changes, it is best to revoke your old will and make a new one. If you only need to make minor changes, you can add a codicil to your will instead. A codicil is an amendment containing the changes that you formalize the same way you do a will, which you then add to your will.
In South Carolina, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- Destroying all or part of the will with the intent to revoke it, by burning, tearing, shredding, obliterating, or physically destroying it in any other way.
- Ordering someone else to physically destroy it in front of you.
- Making a new will that states it revokes the old one or has contradictory terms to the old will.
Divorce does automatically revoke any language that favors your former spouse or names them as the executor. You should still revisit your will after divorce to understand how the divorce impacts the terms in your will.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in South Carolina?
After you make a will in South Carolina, take these steps to finalize it:
- If you made it online, print it out.
- Sign (or acknowledge) it in front of two witnesses, and
- Have the two witnesses sign it in front of you.
To “self-prove” your will in South Carolina, you and your witnesses go before a notary and make sworn statements to the validity of the will. Attach the notarized affidavits to your will.
USLegalWills is a leading provider of online wills. Their service has helped millions of people create a last will and testament over the last twenty years. We like that their services are easy to understand, reasonably priced, and produce an accurate document. You can also create a Living Will and other key end-of-life documents. It’s an affordable, accessible way to create an online last will and testament now. See their pricing and details here.