Heirs’ property is land and any associated dwellings that are jointly owned by descendants of a deceased individual whose estate was not handled in Probate Court. A descendant is defined as anyone related by blood. These descendants, or heirs, have the right to use the property but do not have clear or marketable title to the property.

Receiving or paying the property tax bill does not change ownership rights and does not make an individual an owner or give an existing owner greater rights than another. Ownership can only be changed through a duly-recorded deed.

All heirs of a property are owners, called tenants in common, whether they are specifically listed as owners for the Beaufort County tax sale or not. Heirs’ property may be identified as such in the owner name advertised for tax sale, indicated as: HRS, HEIRS, etc.

Historically, heirs have used the tax sale as a method of obtaining a clear title for a property. When an heirs’ property comes up at auction it has been an informal occurrence for the heir to announce to all bidders that they are bidding on heirs’ property as an appeal to other bidders to not bid against them. This practice is not based on South Carolina State Statute and is not a policy enforced by the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office. Adherence to this practice is strictly up to the individual bidder.

If you are an heirs’ property owner please see our helpful links for organizations that specialize in assisting with heirs’ property.

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