In contrast to North Carolina's two-year property purgatory, when you inherit real estate owned without a right of survivorship in South Carolina, the real property goes through probate. South Carolina does not have tenancy by the entirety property and many married couples with older deeds own property as tenants in common without a right of survivorship and aren't aware of it. That means probate will be necessary at the first spouse's death.
Deeds of Distribution
When the owner of real property in South Carolina passes, here's what must happen to transfer title of the real property. If there is a will, it is filed with the probate court and the person named as personal representative in the will applies tor court approval to serve as personal representative. During the probate process, the personal representative will execute a Deed of Distribution to the devisees (beneficiaries under the will.) Deeds of Distribution aren't deeds in the strict legal sense but are recorded in the register of deeds office and filed with the probate court to give notice of the change in ownership. The Deed of Distribution lists among other things, the names of the new owner or owners, a description of the property, and how the property was inherited, for example - by will. When the personal representative signs the Deed of Distribution, his or her signature releases the personal representative's claim to the property.
Unfortunately, many times the will is never probated and title to the property does not transfer to the beneficiaries under the will. This causes future problems down the road. If more than ten years passes from the date of death, the will cannot be probated and a more complex process must be started to get title.
For more information, take a look at our valuable estate planning book, checklist, and articles with tons of tips and helpful information. They were written by me for residents of North and South Carolina. You can request your free copy of my book by clicking on the above link.