Probate & Estate Administration

If you do not have an estate plan to direct the distributions of your property, South Dakota law provides a default distribution scheme. This is called intestate succession. But it does not have to be this way. You can create your own distribution scheme by executing a Will, tailored to your specific wishes and desires. Whether your property is distributed by way of intestate succession or by the terms of your Will, a probate proceeding is typically necessary. The South Dakota probate system is among the simplest and least expensive in the nation.

The probate process generally consists of the following steps:

• Last Will & Testament is submitted to the probate court or clerk of courts;
• A personal representative (a.k.a. an executor) is appointed to administer the estate;
• The personal representative gathers and values the assets of the deceased individual;
• The personal representative notifies and pays creditors and administration expenses;
• The personal representative files tax returns and pays taxes due; and
• The personal representative distributes the remaining assets to the intended beneficiaries.

The probate process can typically take anywhere from four months up to a year depending on the circumstances. Court filings and reports are sometimes required along the way. Having been involved with hundreds of probates over the years, we have the experience to navigate you through these steps and help you manage the estate effectively during a very difficult and emotional time.