South Carolina Estate Planning Considerations
South Carolina is a Common Law State, which means the rules governing the ownership, division, and inheritance of income and property acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage holds that subject to various qualifications, each spouse owns and has complete control over his or her income and property.
Last Will and Testament
The minimum age of a person competent to make a will is 18 (or an emancipated minor or a married person). The number of witnesses necessary to execute a will is two.
Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA)
The custodial arrangement terminates when the minor reaches age 21 (or upon the minor).
Dying without a Last Will, the South Carolina laws of Intestacy.
The estate goes to the surviving spouse, as follows:
- If there are no surviving descendants, —100% of the estate
- If there are surviving descendants, —50% of the estate
If there is no surviving spouse, or if a portion of the estate does not go to the spouse:
- 100% to descendants equally, but if of unequal degree, by representation (see S.C. Code §62‐2‐103(1), (3))
If there is no surviving spouse or descendant:
- 100% to decedent’s parent or parents equally
If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, or parent:
- 100% to descendants of the decedent’s parents (or either parent), by representation (see S.C. Code §62‐2‐103(1), (3))
If none of the above:
- Intestacy laws outline further distribution steps to the level of grandparents, then great-grandparents, and descendants. See S.C. Code §62‐2‐103(4), (5).
- If no legally described recipient can be found, estate assets go to the state of South Carolina.
South Carolina follows the South Carolina Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to ensure that testators can retain control of their digital property and plan for its ultimate disposition.
South Carolina does not impose an inheritance tax.
Credit Estate Tax
South Carolina imposes an estate tax equal to the maximum credit allowed under the federal tax code for paid state estate and inheritance taxes under I.R.C. Sec. 2011. However, the current federal tax code does not permit a credit for paid state estate or inheritance taxes. Therefore, there is no credit estate tax in effect at this time.
Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (G.S.T. Tax)
South Carolina imposes a G.S.T. tax equal to the maximum credit allowed under I.R.C. Sec. 2604 for paid state G.S.T. tax. However, the current federal tax code does not permit a credit for paid state G.S.T. tax. Therefore, there is no current G.S.T. tax.
South Carolina does not impose a gift tax.