Office Hours : Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

We hope that you will find this information useful and informative. We have include some general information, brief overviews and various functions and services our Court provides to the public. Also included are frequently asked questions and common probate terms

Note: Coming soon..........downloadable forms

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 Mission Statement

Frequently asked questions

 Mental Health/Chemical Dependency

General

 Administering Estates

 Guardianships & Conservatorships

Services

  Marriage License

 Contact Information

Mission Statement

This mission of the Newberry County Probate Court is to provide justice under the law, equally, impartially, and expeditiously. As servants to the public, we are dedicated to a continuous quest to provide the highest quality of support and assistance with sensitivity and understanding.

General Information

Newberry County Probate Court has contact with approximately 600 families per year with an average of 400 estates being probated. As you can expect, each case scenario is different which makes it difficult for our office to advise families until the Court has all pertinent information. As circumstances differ, probate requirements may vary also.Our office also issues approximately 300 marriage licenses per year in addition to handling involuntary commitments for mental health or alcohol/drug abuse, supervising and appointing guardians and conservators, and approving minor and wrongful death settlements.
It is our mission to be sensitive and understanding as we serve the citizens of Newberry County. Should you need additional information, please contact us. Our office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 PM.

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Services We Do provide

  •   Provide support for family members/attorneys to handle deceased person's affairs

  •   Provide assistance in the involuntary commitment of individuals for alcohol/drug problems and/or mental illness

  •   Issue Marriage Licenses and certified copies of marriage licenses

  •   Appoint and supervise conservators and guardians

  •   Approve minor settlements and wrongful death settlements

Services we DO NOT provide

  • Write wills (Contact the SC Lawyers Referral Service at 1-800-868-2284)

  •  Hear criminal cases

    •  Give legal advice

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    Administering Estates

    Types of Estates

  • Testate (Died with Will)

    • Intestate (Died without Will)

    • Small Estate Affidavit (personal property valued at less than $10,000.00 and no real estate)

    • Will Filed Only (No assets to probate)

    What does it mean to "probate" a will?

    Probate means the Will is admitted as valid under South Carolina law. Informal probate admits the Will as valid. Formal probate requires a hearing to confirm the validity of the Will. If the Will has erasures, white-out, or other markings, or if the Will is improperly signed or the original cannot be found, the Court may require formal probate proceedings.

     

    How do I know if I need to go through the Probate Court?

    If the deceased was a permanent resident of Newberry County, was a non-resident holding property in Newberry County, or has a right to take legal action in this county, the estate must be processed through Newberry County Probate Court.

     

    What if the deceased did not have a Will?

    When someone dies without a Will, his or her estate is called "intestate". In this case, the State delegates who inherits and in what amount. The State of South Carolina does not derive any gain from the assets of the estate.

     

    Do I need an attorney to probate a Will?

    For formal probate or appointment, the services of an attorney are recommended. This requires the filing of a Summons and Petition. A hearing will then be set for presentation of the testimony. However if an estate is opened informally, no attorney is required.

     

    What is a Personal Representative?

    It is the person appointed in the Will to handle the estate.

     

    How does a Personal Representative get appointed?

    Appointment of a Personal Representative is granted informally to a person who has priority under South Carolina law. Normally, the deceased names the Personal Representative in the Will. However, priority can result through the Will, by law, by renunciation, or by termination. Any person with priority may nominate another. A person without priority may only be appointed through formal proceedings.

     

    What are the duties of the Personal Representative?

    The Personal Representative is responsible for collecting, protecting, and administering the estate. This includes giving notice to all interested parties, filing an Inventory of estate assets, making sure assets are secure during the probate period, paying claims and costs filed against the estate, and making sure heirs and devisees receive property as designated under the Will.

     

    Where do I start and how much does all of this cost?

    If the decedent died with a Will, (testate) within thirty (30) days from the date of death, the personal representative named in the Will should call the Court for an appointment. The clerk will give instructions as to what is needed for the first appointment. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request as soon as possible.

    If the decedent did not have a Will, (intestate), next of kin should contact the Court within thirty (30) days from the date of death for an appointment. The clerk will give instructions as to what is needed for the first appointment.

    Filing fees and costs that are paid to the Probate Court are set by law for all estates.

     

    When is Bond required?

    Bond is required in the following circumstances:

    1. Appointment of a Special Administrator

    2. Appointment of a Personal Representative not named in the Will (unless they are the sole devisee or unless waived by all interested heirs)
    3. Appointment of a Personal Representative of an intestate estate (unless they are the sole heir or all heirs consent to waive bond)
    4. Appointment of a Personal Representative expressly required by the Will
    5. If demanded by an interested person

    Bond may be waived if all heirs and devisees sign an agreement to that effect.

     

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    Marriage License

    Marriage Licenses may be applied for at the Probate Court between the hours of 8:30 am - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The Probate Court is located in the Newberry County Annex, 1309 College Street, Newberry, SC.

    Both parties must be present to apply for a license. If you are over the age of eighteen (18), you must bring two mandatory forms of identification. The first is a Driver's License or state issued ID. The second is your Social Security Card. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), you must bring a certified copy of your long form birth certificate. A parent must accompany the minor and give consent.

    Applicants are required to pay a $45.00 fee for the license. There is a 24 hour waiting period before you can receive your marriage license. You do not have to be a resident of this state to apply for a marriage license but the ceremony must be performed in South Carolina. Blood tests are not required in this state.

    The Newberry County Probate Court does perform ceremonies at a charge of $25.00. You must schedule an appointment with our office and the fee must be paid at the time the ceremony is scheduled.

    You may obtain certified copies of your marriage license in this office if you originally applied for your license in this county. There is a $5.00 fee per certified copy. Our marriage records date back to 1911.

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    Mental Health / Chemical Dependency

     
    The State of South Carolina Probate Code provides a process whereby allegedly mentally ill or chemically dependent individuals may be committed for treatment. If you know a person needing an emergency commitment because of harm to self or others due to mental illness and/or chemical abuse, contact the local mental health center. DO NOT COME TO THE PROBATE COURT FIRST. CONTACT NEWBERRY COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH at (803) 276-8000 or call the Crisis Line at 1-800-868-2642 for after hour emergencies. The Probate Court can only assist after the Mental Health Center has done an initial screening. The Petitions for Commitment of these allegedly mentally ill or chemically dependent individuals are initiated through the Newberry County Mental Health Center. The completion of the Petition for Commitment empowers the Probate Court to issue an Order of Detention for the individual in question to be evaluated.

    Remember, the first contact is Newberry County Mental Health. This service is available to all citizens of the county but can only be instigated by an adult who must have first hand knowledge of the person's alleged problem.

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    Guardianships & Conservatorships

      This page is not an exhaustive review of Probate Law. See your attorney for further details.

    How do I know if I need to establish a guardianship or conservatorship?

    If you know someone who, because of a disability, can no longer manage their money or make decisions about their personal or medical care, that person may need a court-appointed Guardian or Conservator. In the case of a minor, a Conservator must be appointed in certain cases when the minor is entitled to receive a sum of money from an insurance settlement, inheritance, etc.

     

    What is a guardianship or conservatorship?

    In South Carolina a Guardian handles personal and custodial matters for an incapacitated adult. The incapacity may be due to mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, advanced age, chronic use of drugs or alcohol, or other causes, except minority. A Guardian must decide where the person will live and make provisions for his/her care, comfort and maintenance, including mental and health care decisions.

    A Conservator manages financial affairs or property for an incapacitated adult or for a minor. A bond insures that the conservator carries out his duties faithfully and appropriately. The bond is based on the total value of the protected person's property (excluding real estate), plus one year's estimated income. The Conservator must manage and protect the property, and report periodically to the Court about the assets, receipts and disbursements of the estate. No expenditures can occur without written Court order. If the Court appoints you Conservator, it will be your responsibility to dutifully handle the financial situation of the protected person as stipulated by the Court.

     
    Where do I start and how much does it cost?

    Contact an attorney who practices in the Probate Court. Lawyer's fees can vary depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case. A lawyer must also be appointed to represent the allegedly incapacitated adult.

     

    What is the general process?

    Guardianship:

    • A Guardian is appointed after a hearing where testimony from family, a physician and licensed social worker indicates that the person is in need of a Guardian to assist in his/her personal care.

    Conservatorship - Adult and Minor

    • A Conservator is appointed after a hearing where various professionals indicate that the medical and social status of the allegedly incapacitated adult requires a Conservator. All prospective Conservators must review an educational video on the process.

     

    How do I handle the money?

    Filing fees are set by law and must be paid to the Court. If a Guardian and/or Conservator is appointed, the fees are generally paid from the estate of the protected person. Attorneys, examiners, visitors and others may be entitled to reasonable compensation for services as determined by the Court.

     

    How does the death of a protected person effect the Guardianship or Conservatorship?

    The Guardian or Conservator will be discharged. The Personal Representative of the estate will then take over the management of the financial affairs from the Conservator.

     

    What if I die or can no longer be the Guardian or Conservator?

    The Court in such emergency situations may appoint a Special Conservator or Guardian. You may not "quit" as Guardian or Conservator, but you may have someone else petition the Court to be appointed as Successor Guardian or Conservator of the protected person.

     

    When are Protected Proceedings NOT necessary?

    • If a Health Care Power of Attorney exists, a guardianship may be avoided.

    • If a patient is able to consent to care under the Adult Health Care Consent Act, a guardianship may not be necessary.

    • A conservatorship may not be necessary if the adult's only cash asset is a monthly Social Security check. Or, if the adult's only asset, other than the monthly Social Security check, is real property and no changes are proposed for the property at this time.

    • If a Durable Power of Attorney exists, a conservatorship may be avoided.

     
    General Information to Remember

    • All records of the Probate Court are public.

    • The Probate Court cannot give legal advice.
    • The Newberry County Probate Court only handles guardianships and conservatorships for persons who reside in Newberry County or in the case of a conservatorship, own property in Newberry County.
    • Probate Laws are designed to protect the personal and financial interests of the incapacitated adults or minors. The goal is to create the least restrictive environment that best meets the needs of the people involved.

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    Frequently asked questions

     

    Q:What estate planning documents should I have?

    A :Everyone should consider a Last Will & Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death (Living Will)

     

    Q:In South Carolina, how is the property of a deceased citizen distributed if there is no will?

    A: If one dies without a will, the laws of intestate succession control probate property. Generally, the property passes in accordance with the deceased's family tree (unless there are nonprobate transfers).

     

    Q:What are the requirements for having a legal will?

    A:The document must be in writing, signed by a testator who is at least eighteen (18) years old and have two witnesses. You should consult an attorney to prepare your will. Please do not attempt to prepare your own will. Also, if you have a will, you should never alter that document in any way without first consulting an attorney.

     

    Q:What is required for one to apply for a marriage license in this state?

    A: A person must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or have parental consent. The license is normally issued following the mandatory 24-hour waiting period once the application is filed and the $45.00 fee is paid.

     

    Q.Where are you located?

    A :We are located at 1309 College Street, Newberry, SC, in the Newberry County Annex.

     

    Q:What is your mailing address?

    A: PO Box 442, Newberry, SC 29108

     

    Q:What is the difference in a regular estate and a small estate?

    A:A regular estate is when the decedent owned real estate or had assets valued at more than ten thousand dollars. A small estate is when the decedent owned no real estate and the total assets are valued at less than ten thousand dollars.

     

    Q:How can I be appointed as the power of attorney for someone?

    A:You will need to contact an attorney.

     

    Q:Do I need an appointment to open an estate?

    A:Yes.

    Q:Are probate records available for the public to view?

    A:Yes.

     

    Q:Is there a fee to file a claim?

    A:No. However, you need to make sure that an estate has been opened in our office. If there is no estate, we cannot accept the claim.

     

    Q:What is probate for?

    A:Probate is to transfer assets out of the decedent's name to the proper heirs.

     

    Q:What are the fees to probate an estate?

    A:Probate fees vary according to the value of the estate.

     

    Q:How long does it take to probate the estate?

    A:A regular estate will take at least eight months to one year.

     

    Q:Can I file my will with your office?

    A:A will is not filed with our office until the person is deceased.

     

    Q:How long do creditors have to file a claim?

    A:Eight months from the first date of publication or one year from the date of death.

     

    Q:I need a certificate from probate. What is that and how can I get one?

    A: A certificate is a Certificate of Appointment. This certifies whom the Court has appointed as Personal Representative of the estate. You can request certificates from the Court.

     

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    Common Probate Terms

     

    Accountings: Reports that contain the annual and final fiscal reports showing

    receipts and disbursements with date and purpose.

     

    Estate Papers: The original probate papers such as wills, inventories, letters,

    accountings, etc.

     

    Probate: The legal process of wrapping up a person's affairs, paying their bills

    and distributing their assets.

     

    Testator: A person who has made a legally valid will before death.

     

    Inventory: A form that outlines all of decedent's assets at the time of death

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    Contact Information

    Mailing: Location:

    Newberry County Probate Court Newberry County Probate Court
    Post Office Box 442 1309 College Street
    Newberry, SC 29108 Newberry, SC 29108

    Telephone Contact:

    (803) 321-2118

     

    Facsimile:

    (803) 321-2119

     

     

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