(All United States Citizens)


This checklist is primarily for South Carolina informal probate and appointment and/or for those decedents utilizing Revocable Living Trust Agreements and living in Beaufort County, South Carolina.


ESTATE OF:                                      __________________________________________________


TRUST OF:                                        __________________________________________________       



OF DECEDENT:                               __________________________________________________



OF DECEDENT                                __________________________________________________


TAX ID NUMBER (EIN) OBTAINED BY CPA:                          


                  FOR ESTATE:                 __________________________________________________       


                    FOR TRUST:                  __________________________________________________       


TAX YEAR OF ESTATE:                 __________________________________________________


TAX YEAR OF TRUST:                   __________________________________________________



CASE NUMBER:                              FILE NUMBER TO BE ASSIGNED BY                           


PROBATE JUDGE:                           Honorable Kenneth E. Fulp, Jr.



ADDRESS:                                        Beaufort County Probate Court

Multi-Government Center

102 Ribaut Road

Beaufort, SC  29902


NUMBER:                                          (843) 255-5850




            Address of Decedent:

            ______________________________________________________________________________            ______________________________________________________________________________



            Decedent’s Business or Occupation: ____________________________________


            Legal Resident:_______________________             Since:  _________________

            Place of Death:___________________________     Age at Death: ___________

            Date of Death:            ___________________________      Date of Birth:  __________

            Marital Status:

            Single _____               Married _____            Widowed  _____        Divorced  _____


            Surviving Spouse’s Name: _____________________           SSN:____________


            Divorced Spouse’s Name:_______________________        SSN:____________


Date and state in which divorced, if applicable:        _________________


            Need copy of divorce decree, if any  _________________


            Date decedent’s spouse died, if applicable:               _________________


Name, Address, Telephone Number and Tax Identification Number of Personal

Representative and/or Trustee:

            ______________________________________________________________________________            ______________________________________________________________________________



Name, Address, Telephone Number and Tax Identification Number of spouse:

            ______________________________________________________________________________            ______________________________________________________________________________



            Decedent’s Accountant’s Name, Address, Telephone Number:                                            ______________________________________________________________________________


            Decedent’s Stock Broker’s/Account Executive’s Name, Address, Telephone Number:



            Decedent’s Insurance Advisor’s Name, Address, Telephone Number:                                 ______________________________________________________________________________


            Decedent’s Real Estate or other Attorneys’ Name, Address, Telephone Number:



            Devisees Under Will:                                                 


Name, Address, Telephone            SS#                         Date of Birth                    Relationship


_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




            Note: Add additional devisees on a separate page, if needed.


            Beneficiaries of Trust:                                                


Name, Address, Telephone            SS#                         Date of Birth                    Relationship


_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




_______________________  _____________          _____________          __________________




Note: Add additional devisees on a separate page, if needed.

Are any of the Devisees or Beneficiaries either a minor or an incapacitated person?            __________

If so, please list name(s) and whether a minor and/or incapacitated.






II.        Important Dates


1.                  Date of Will and/or Codicil(s).                                                                                   __________


2.         Date of Trust(s) and any Amendment(s)                                                                    __________


3.         Date of Qualification, if Personal Representative is appointed.                                 __________


4.         Date of First Notice to Creditors, if Personal Representative is appointed.              __________


5.         Date of Period for Filing Claims Expires (Eight months after date of first notice    __________

to creditors (62-3-801), if Personal Representative is appointed.


6.                  Date Inventory and Appraisement Due - Ninety (90) days

            after appointment (62-3-706), if Personal Representative is appointed                     __________


7.                  Date Information to Heirs and Devisees Due -Thirty (30) days

            from appointment of Personal Representative.  (62-3-705),

            if Personal Representative is appointed                                                                      __________


8.                  Date of Notice of Hearing, if Applicable -Twenty (20) days prior

            to hearing (62-1401), if Personal Representative is appointed or

            if Will filed for “probate only” is challenged.                                                            __________


9.                  Date Probate Accounting Due: If a Personal Representative is appointed

            then the Accounting is due one year after the date of first publication of notice

            to creditors; unless an estate tax return is due, in which case, the accounting

            is due 90 days after the receipt of the estate tax closing letter. (62-3-1001).             __________


10.       Date U.S. Estate Tax Returns due--                                                                           US________

Nine (9) months from date of death (Personal Representative and/or

Trustee, Attorney and Accountant should each set up tickler).                                                        


11.              Date Decedent's Final 1040 Return Due (Personal Representative

            and/or Trustee and Accountant should set up tickler)- April 15th of year

            following year of death, unless it falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday.             4/15/_____ 


12.              Due date for previous year’s return for decedent, if not yet filed.

Personal Representative and/or Trustee, Attorney and Accountant should

set up tickler.                                                                                                               __________



13.       Date Fist U.S. and SC 1041 Fiduciary Returns Due (Personal Representative

            and/or Trustee and Accountant should set up tickler) - 15th day of

fourth month following close of the tax year.                        For Estate                                __________


                                                                                                For Trust                                 __________   


Note:   a Trust can be treated as an Estate for a period of time for                                       

income tax purposes.                                                       CPA          


14.       Who will prepare the 1040?                                                                                             CPA          


15.       Who will prepare the 1041s for the estate?                                                                     CPA                      


16.       Who will prepare the final 1041s for the trust?                                                               CPA                 


17.       Consider and use Alternate Valuation Date, if Applicable

(Six (6) months after date of death) for Estate Tax Returns (taxable estates only).  __________


18.       If estate is taxable and has no significant tax issues, wait for alternate

            valuation date information and then try to file U.S. Estate Tax Returns

seven (7) months after decedent’s date of death.                                                      __________


19.       If estate is non-taxable, has no tax issues, and there is a surviving spouse

            is portability needed?                                                 __________



III.             Pre-Probate


1.                The actual legal fees for the Law Office of Michael J. Howell depend upon the actual time expended. We charge $320.00 per hour for Michael J. Howell’s time, $270 per hour for Margaret H. Up De Graff’s time, $250 for any other attorney’s time, and $140.00 per hour for non-attorney staff time. In addition, there is a charge of three tenths of 1% (.003) of the gross value of the Estate and Trust assets for Federal Estate Tax purposes, which equates to $300 per each $100,000 of assets for professional fiduciaries such as attorneys, CPA’s, financial advisors, banks and trust companies. There are no additional charges for regular postage or photocopies. There are also charges for out of pocket costs, fees, and expenses charged by others such as couriers, courts, appraisers, and valuation services.


Although it is hard to estimate, normally our hourly fees range from less than 1 % of the gross value of the assets for Federal Estate Tax purposes up to 3% unless there are problems or issues in administering the Estate or Trust or we do extraordinary work or we have to do work normally done by the Personal Representative or Trustee or their advisors. Normally, the larger the Estate and/or Trust, the lower the actual cost is as a percentage of the gross value of the Estate and/or Trust for federal estate tax value and vice versa. With small Estates and/or Trusts the percentage estimates can be much higher. We will bill for services about once a month but in some cases we can run behind. For amounts unpaid for thirty (30) days after a bill is rendered, we charge interest of 1 ½% per month. All rates are subject to change, but advance notice will be given. __________




2.         Discuss the 3 to 4 stages of administration and quantity of work performed.           __________


                        Opening                      __________

                        Administration            __________

                        Closing                        __________

                        Estate Tax Return       __________


3.         Need Newspaper Obituary for File.                                                                           __________


4.         Locate and examine the Will, any Trust Agreements, Memorandums and/or

Instructions on File.                                                                                                    __________


5.         Prepare and have signed Probate Court Affidavit concerning

Tangible Personal Property Memorandum                                                                  __________


6.         Hold Initial Conference with Personal Representative. Discuss                                                       

cash needs, have extra copies of Will and Trust for distribution.                               __________                                                                                                   

7.         Review applicability of estate tax apportionment statutes (review Will                   

for provisions) 62-3-916.                                                                                            __________


8.         Obtain copies of any divorce decree.                                                                         __________


IV.       Probate


1.         Consider need for fiduciary bond (Forms 340PC and 341PC) (62-3-603),

            if a Personal Representative is appointed.                                                                  __________


2.         Send to the Probate Court the following:

--Transmittal letter

--Application/Petition for Probate and/or Appointment

   depending upon whether there is going to be a Personal

   Representative. (62-3-301)

--Original Will and any Codicils (62-3-301)

--Death Certificate

--Check for court costs (see fee schedule 8-21-770)

--Normally the initial check is $25.00 for probate only

   and $70.00 for probate and appointment.                                                               __________


3.         File Notices (110PC) and Proof of

Delivery (Form 120PC) if any Demands for

Notice (form 120PC) are on file.                                                                                __________


4.         Obtain Waivers of Notice - 62-3-204 and 62-3-310, if deemed necessary.               __________


5.                  Obtain Fiduciary Letters (Form 140PC) and Certificates of Appointment

            (Form 141PC), if a Personal Representative is appointed.                                         __________


6.                Explain Waivers and how they can save significant cost.                                           __________

7.                Obtain Court copy of will filed even if no appointment of a Personal

           Representative.                                                                                                                        __________


8.         Obtain at least three (3) Certificates of Appointment, if a Personal Representative 

            is appointed (62-3-307). More may be needed later.                                                  __________   


9.         Obtain at least twelve (12) to eighteen (18) certified copies of the death certificates

            More may be needed later.                                                                                         __________


10.       File Information to Heirs and Devisees (Form 305PC) and Proof of Delivery

(Form 120PC).                                                                                                            __________


11.       File Notice to Creditors (Form 370PC) or request Probate Court to send

            Affidavit of Publication, if a Personal Representative is appointed. Local

            customs may vary.  In Beaufort County, the court takes care of the

            publication of notice to creditors.                                                                               __________


12.       Ancillary administration needs to be instituted where real or

tangible personal property is located in other states and will need to hire an

attorney in the other state(s).                                                                                      __________


13.       File Deed of Distribution and any other required probate papers in other

            South Carolina counties where probate property is located, including real estate and

tangible personal property.                                                                                          __________


14.       Follow Uniform Principal & Income Act unless Will and/or Trust contains

            different provisions.                                                                                                    __________


15.       Project cash requirements and liquidate sufficient assets to meet needs for debts,

taxes, expenses and cash devises.                                                                               __________


16.      Consider an early termination of the estate if the Personal Representative

            is also the sole devisee.                                                                                               __________


17.       Consider small estate procedures if all probate assets are under $25,000

            and there is no real estate.                                                               __________