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South Carolina Wills Laws

Thinking about wills, and especially the circumstances that surround them, always feels like a solemn event. But how do wills work, exactly? A will, in the simplest sense, is a legal plan for what will happen to a person’s property after he or she passes away. And while none of us want to think about dying ourselves or losing a loved one, having a plan in place when the inevitable happens is better than not having one. Here in the Palmetto State there are strict regulations on who can create a will, how it can be created, and what it can cover. Here are the basics of wills laws in South Carolina.

Wills Laws

So long as they are of sound mind and not a minor, a person can bequeath their possessions however they see fit, from who gets the family business to who gets the family boat. South Carolina’s will statutes are generally similar to will laws in other states in most respects, and do not recognize oral, or non-written, wills.

Wills Laws in South Carolina

The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s wills laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 62-2-501, et seq.: Wills

Age of Testator

Sound mind and not a minor

Number of Witnesses

Signed by at least two persons each of whom witnessed either the signing or testator's acknowledgment of signature or of will.

Nuncupative (Oral Wills)

No statutory recognition of soldiers' and mariners' wills of personalty nor nuncupative wills of personalty.

Holographic Wills

Impliedly forbidden by statute unless specifically recognized by valid out-of-state execution or out-of-state probate.

Understanding Wills

Wills laws can seem like a foreign language when we first encounter them, and it seems like we need a translator to understand South Carolina estate planning laws. So here are a few definitions that might help clarify things:

  • A “testator” is the person whose after-death wishes are specified in the will;
  • A “nuncupative” or oral will is one that is spoken or otherwise unwritten (and are not legally binding in South Carolina); and
  • A “holographic” will is a handwritten testament, (also not valid in South Carolina unless it has already been validated out-of-state).

South Carolina Wills Laws: Related Resources

Creating a will is serious, especially one that accomplishes everything the person intended. For more articles and resources on this topic, including guides for creating and changing a will, you can visit FindLaw’s Estate Planning section. If you would like legal assistance creating or interpreting a will, you can contact a South Carolina wills attorney.

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