South Carolina Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – South Carolina

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in South Carolina, but does contain basic and other provisions.  A discussion of hand written wills is not included.

Who may make a will: A person who is of sound mind and who is not a minor as defined in Section 62-1-201(24) may make a will. 62-2-501.

Execution: A will shall be in writing, signed by the testator and shall be signed by at least two persons each of whom witnessed either the signing. 62-2-502.

Interested witness: No subscribing witness to any will, testament, or codicil may be held incompetent to attest or prove the same by reason of any devise, legacy, or bequest therein in favor of such witness or the husband or wife of such witness, by reason of any appointment therein of such witness or the husband or wife of such witness to any office, trust, or duty, or by reason of any charge therein of debts to any part of the estate in favor of such witness as creditor. Any such devise, legacy, or bequest is valid and effectual, if otherwise so, but unless there are two other and interested witnesses then so far as the property, estate, or interest so devised or bequeathed exceeds in value any property, estate, or interest to which such witness or the husband or wife of such witness would be entitled upon the failure to establish such will, testament, or codicil, such devise, legacy, or bequest is null and void to the extent of such excess. Any such appointment is valid, if otherwise so, and the person so appointed, in such case, is entitled by law to take or receive any commissions or other compensation on account thereof. 62-2-504.

Choice of law as to execution: A written will is valid if executed in compliance with South Carolina law either at the time of execution or at the date of the testator’s death or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of
(1) the place where the will is executed, or
(2) the place where the testator is domiciled at the time of execution or at the time of death. 62-2-505.

Revocation by writing or by act: A will or any part thereof is revoked:
(1) by a subsequent will which revokes the prior will or part expressly or by inconsistency; or
(2) by being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator or by another person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction. 62-2-506.

Revocation by divorce, annulment, and order terminating marital property rights; no revocation by other changes of circumstances: If after executing a will the testator is divorced or his marriage annulled or his spouse is a party to a valid proceeding concluded by an order purporting to terminate all marital property rights or confirming equitable distribution between spouses, the divorce or annulment or order revokes any disposition or appointment of property including beneficial interests made by the will to the spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the spouse, and any nomination of the spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. If provisions are revoked solely by this section, they are revived by testator’s remarriage to the former spouse. 62-2-507.

Incorporation by reference: Any writing in existence when a will is executed may be incorporated by reference if the language of the will manifests this intent and describes the writing sufficiently to permit its identification. 62-2-509.

Separate writing identifying bequest of tangible property: A will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will, other than money and property used in trade or business. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing must either be in the handwriting of the testator or be signed by the testator and must describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty. The writing may be referred to as one to be in existence at the time of the testator’s death; it may be prepared before or after the execution of the will; it may be altered by the testator after its preparation; and it may be a writing that has no significance apart from its effect upon the dispositions made by the will. 62-2-512.


Inside South Carolina Last Will and Testament Law