A Richland Probate is required if the deceased was a permanent resident of Richland county and there are assets that need to be distributed to the heirs. Probate action may also be required if the deceased was a non-resident of South Carolina holding property in the county or had a right to take legal action in the county.

To start the probate action, if the decedent had a will (testate), within 30 days from date of death, the person nominated to be the executor or any party in possession of the Last Will and Testament should submit the original will, a certified copy of death certificate if available, and $10 filing fee to the Probate Court. The party named to be the Personal Representative may elect to retain a South Carolina probate lawyer to represent the estate and start the application for them to be appointed as the Personal Representative (executor) of the estate. A clerk will be assigned to the probate case and will work with the Personal Representative or the South Carolina estate attorney on the necessary paperwork and notices that are required. If the decedent did not have a will (intestate), then there is a list set by statute of the party with priority to be appointed as the Personal Representative, starting with the surviving spouse.

Compared to many other states, the probate process in South Carolina is relatively simple, especially if there is a Last Will and Testament. The person appointed as the Personal Representative can often handle to process without the assistance of a South Carolina probate lawyer. However, if the Personal Representative resides out of state, they will need someone living is South Carolina to assist them and usually that should be an attorney. For probate actions like a will contest, determination of common law spouse, sale of real estate, determination of heirs and similar issues, it is advisable to retain an attorney. Since the attorney fee is normally an estate expense, the cost to retain an estate attorney will usually be equally shared by all of the heirs of the estate. 


Note that this site is a private commercial website and not associated with any governmental agency. Below is the information on how to directly contact the court.

The Probate Court is responsible for appointing a personal representative to administer the estates of a decedent; issuing marriage licenses; appointing guardians and conservators for minors and incapacitated persons; approving special needs trusts; hearing will contest actions and actions involving living trusts.  

It is located in the

Judicial Center
1701 Main Street
2nd Floor Suite 207
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
(803) 576-1961

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

It is recommended to call for an appointment. You can search estate information online at

Richland Probate Court Estate Lookup


Wayne Patterson is an experienced will contest and common law marriage attorney that practices in the Richland County Probate Court. While his office is in Greenville, he practices in the Richland, Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley County courts on a regular basis.
Wayne Patterson, Attorney at Law
116 W. Stone Ave.
Greenville, SC 29610

Reviews for Wayne Patterson, South Carolina Probate Lawyer


A person appointed to handle an estate used to be called an Executor/Executrix or Administrator/Administratrix. Today the person appointed to handle an estate is called the Personal Representative or PR for short. However, most people, including most probate attorneys, still use the executor designation.

A person is not the executor of an estate until legally appointed by the Richland probate court, even if they are nominated in the will. Usually, the Personal Representative (Executor) is named in the will by the deceased and that person will normally be appointed by the probate court provided that they qualify and agree to serve. However, the right to be appointed can result through the will, by law, by renunciation, or by termination. Any person with rights to the PR may decline and nominate another. If a formal proceeding is required, following service of the formal Summons and Petition, a hearing will be scheduled to determine who is the appropriate person to be appointed as the PR to administer the estate. If you are involved in a formal proceeding, you should consult with a Richland County probate lawyer since this a a lawsuit with permanent results that could damage your rights to inherit from the estate. 

The Personal Representative is responsible for taking charge of and collecting, protecting and administering the estate. This includes giving Notice to all interested parties, filing an Inventory of the estate, making sure assets are secure during probate time, paying required claims and costs, and making sure the proper people get what they are entitled to receive.The Personal Representative is the one that decides for the estate whether or not it is necessary to retain a Richland estate attorney to assist them in the probate process.

Personal Representative Checklist


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