If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of South Carolina, you are said to have died "intestate." In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of South Carolina has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see South Carolina Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.
Any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by his will passes to his heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this Code.
SECTION 62-2-102. Share of the spouse.
The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
(1) if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the entire intestate estate;
(2) if there are surviving issue, one-half of the intestate estate.
SECTION 62-2-103. Share of heirs other than surviving spouse.
The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under § 62-2-102, or the entire estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes as follows:
(1) to the issue of the decedent: if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent they take equally, but if of unequal degree then those of more remote degree take by representation;
(2) if there is no surviving issue, to his parent or parents equally;
(3) if there is no surviving issue or parent, to the issue of the parents or either of them by representation;
(4) if there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or issue of grandparents, half of the estate passes to the paternal grandparents if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the issue of the paternal grandparents if both are deceased, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there be no surviving grandparent or issue of grandparent on either the paternal or the maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half;
(5) if there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, grandparent or issue of a grandparent, but the decedent is survived by one or more great-grandparents or issue of great-grandparents, half of the estate passes to the surviving paternal great-grandparents in equal shares, or to the surviving paternal great-grandparent if only one survives, or to the issue of the paternal great-grandparents if none of the great-grandparents survive, the issue taking equally if they are all of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, but if of unequal degree those of more remote degree take by representation; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there be no surviving great-grandparent or issue of a great-grandparent on either the paternal or the maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half;
(6) if there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, grandparent or issue of a grandparent, great-grandparent or issue of a great-grandparent, but the decedent is survived by one or more stepchildren or issue of stepchildren, the estate passes to the surviving stepchildren and to the issue of any deceased stepchildren; if they are all of the same degree of step-kinship to the decedent they take equally, but if of unequal degree then those of more remote degree take by representation.
SECTION 62-2-104. Requirement that heir survive decedent for one hundred twenty hours.
Any person who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of Section 62-2-401 and intestate succession, and the decedent's heirs are determined accordingly. If the time of death of the decedent or of the person who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it cannot be established that the person who would otherwise be an heir has survived the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, it is deemed that the person failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied where its application would result in a taking of the intestate estate by the State under Section 62-1-105.
SECTION 62-2-105. No taker.
If there is no taker under the provisions of this article, the intestate estate passes to the State of South Carolina.
SECTION 62-2-106. Representation; disclaimer by intestate beneficiary.
If representation is called for by this Code, the estate is divided into as many equal shares as there are surviving heirs in the nearest degree of kinship and deceased persons in the same degree who left issue who survive the decedent, each surviving heir in the nearest degree receiving one share and the share of each deceased person in the same degree being divided among his issue in the same manner. If an interest created by intestate succession is disclaimed, the beneficiary is not treated as having predeceased the decedent for purposes of determining the generation at which the division of the estate is to be made.
SECTION 62-2-107. Kindred of half blood.
Relatives of the half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.
SECTION 62-2-108. Afterborn heirs.
Issue of the decedent (but no other persons) conceived before his death but born within ten months thereafter inherit as if they had been born in the lifetime of the decedent.
SECTION 62-2-109. Meaning of child and related terms.
If, for purposes of intestate succession, a relationship of parent and child must be established to determine succession by, through, or from a person:
(2) In cases not covered by (1), a person born out of wedlock is a child of the mother. That person is also a child of the father if:
(i) the natural parents participated in a marriage ceremony before or after the birth of the child, even though the attempted marriage is void; or(3) A person is not the child of a parent whose parental rights have been terminated under § 20-7-1574 of the 1976 Code, except that the termination of parental rights is ineffective to disqualify the child or its kindred to inherit from or through the parent.
(ii) the paternity is established by an adjudication commenced before the death of the father or within the later of eight months after the death of the father or six months after the initial appointment of a personal representative of his estate and, if after his death, by clear and convincing proof, except that the paternity established under this subitem (ii) is ineffective to qualify the father or his kindred to inherit from or through the child unless the father has openly treated the child as his and has not refused to support the child.
SECTION 62-2-110. Advancements.
SECTION 62-2-111. Debts to decedent.
A debt owed to the decedent is not charged against the intestate share of any person except the debtor. If the debtor fails to survive the decedent, the debt is not taken into account in computing the intestate share of the debtor's issue.
SECTION 62-2-112. Alienage.
No person is disqualified to take as an heir because he, or a person through whom he claims, is or has been an alien.
SECTION 62-2-113. Persons related to decedent through two lines.
A person who is related to the decedent through two lines of relationship is entitled to only a single share based on the relationship which would entitle him to the larger share.
SECTION 62-2-114. Limitation on parent's entitlement as intestate heirs to estate proceeds; failure to provide support for decedent during minority.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the parents of the deceased would be the intestate heirs pursuant to Section 62-2-103(2), upon the motion of either parent or any other party of potential interest based upon the decedent having died intestate, the probate court may deny or limit either or both parent's entitlement for a share of the proceeds if the court determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the parent or parents failed to reasonably provide support for the decedent as defined in Section 20-7-40 and did not otherwise provide for the needs of the decedent during his or her minority.
[Reference - South Carolina Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession].