Meet Our Attorneys
Ashley H. Amundson
ASHLEY H. AMUNDSON
Location: Beaufort, SC
Ashley joined the firm in 2022, following a move to Beaufort from Walterboro, SC. Ashley served as Probate Judge for Colleton County from 2011 to 2022. Her practice focuses on estate planning, estate settlement, and probate matters. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys running and spending time with her husband and two children, especially at Edisto Beach.
Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Areas Of Practice
Estate Planning Law
South Carolina, 2006
North Carolina, 2004
University of North Carolina School of Law
Chapel Hill, NC – 2004
Honors: Chancellors Scholar; cum laude
University of South Carolina Honors College
Columbia, SC – 2001
B.S. in Business Administration
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Associations and Memberships
South Carolina Bar
South Carolina Elder Law Committee
South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
South Carolina Association of Probate Judges, former member and past president
South Carolina Advisory Committee for Probate Judges, past member
Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education, past member
National College of Probate Judges, past member
North Carolina Bar
Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, Board Member 2023-present
Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Ethics Committee Member, 2022-present
Real Life Q&A
Q: What happens if I die without a will in South Carolina?
A: A Last Will and Testament is an important estate planning tool that everyone over the age of 18 should have. It allows the person making the will (the “testator”) to designate who will receive assets and allows the testator to select a personal representative who will handle estate distribution. People are often surprised to learn that a will controls the distribution of only probate assets. Probate assets include but are not limited to:
- Real estate owned individually or with one or more co-owners as tenants in common. Determining how real estate is held requires a review of the deed for the property;
- Stocks and bonds;
- Bank accounts owned individually (without a payable on death designation);
- Cash and notes receivable;
- Life insurance payable to the estate only (i.e., without a living beneficiary);
- Vehicles owned individually or by two or more persons with the word “and” appearing on the title between the names;
- Household goods (if the decedent died unmarried).
Other assets pass outside of probate and are not controlled by the will. Examples of non-probate assets include but are not limited to:
- Real estate owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship;
- Real estate in which decedent held a life estate;
- Joint bank accounts;
- Accounts with a payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designation;
- Titled assets with the word “or” between two owners; and
- Insurance proceeds payable to a beneficiary.
Give us a call to set up your free consultation where we’ll discuss your specific situation and circumstances.
Q: Do I have to open an estate for my loved one who died?
Probate is required only if there are probate assets. Non-probate assets such as those with rights of survivorship do not require probate. If the decedent’s probate assets are valued at less than $25,000.00, and there is no real property, assets may be distributed pursuant to an Affidavit for Collection (also known as a small estate affidavit) filed with the Probate Court. This does not require the opening of an estate. If the decedent owned probate assets valued at more than $25,000.00 and/or probate real estate of any value, you must open a regular estate for the decedent.
Q: How long does probate of an estate take in South Carolina?
A: In South Carolina, state law dictates that an estate for a decedent who died within the prior 12 months is subject to a creditor claim period. Estates must remain open for this period, which is the shorter of (1) 8 months after a notice to creditors is published; or (2) one year from the decedent’s date of death. Upon expiration of this time, the personal representative may proceed to distribute the assets and complete estate administration. The duration of probate can vary widely, depending on factors such as the complexity of estate assets and the contentiousness of the parties involved. At a minimum, you should plan for estate administration to take approximately one year.