To serve the people of Berkeley County in a professional, proficient, and courteous manner with their needs in the areas of the Probate Court, including estates, marriage licenses, mental health, alcohol and drug addiction, guardians, conservators, and minor settlements.

Mission Statement

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Department Functions

The Berkeley County Probate Court is an Administrative Office and a Judicial Office. The Judicial Office resolves conflicts between interested parties in bench or jury trials. The Administrative Office assists and oversees the processes and procedures which are set forth in The Probate Code.

Matters handled in the Probate Court are generally divided into four separate divisions:

Estate Division: This Division oversees the administration of estates to ensure that assets and debts of a decedent are handled by the Personal Representative pursuant to the decedent’s Last Will and Testament or the Statute of Intestacy.

Guardian/Conservator Division: This Division oversees the appointment of Guardians for adults (guardians for children are appointed by the Family Court) and the appointment of Conservators for minors and adults. Persons who are “incapacitated” mentally or physically may need the assistance of a Guardian and/or Conservator to handle their affairs.

Therapeutic Division: This Division assists persons seeking involuntary treatment of mental illness and/or alcohol-drug addiction for their family members. The Clerk processes all applications for judicial and emergency commitment proceedings.

Marriage License Division: This Division issues marriage licenses and files executed licenses with DHEC. This Division is responsible for maintaining a permanent record of all licenses issued and returned to the Court following the ceremony. Requests for certified copies of marriage licenses on record in Berkeley County are also prepared by this Clerk.

South Carolina Courts’ list of things court staff can and cannot do

Letter from the Judge:

Our Clerks are very capable and competent in their area of service and are here to help you with the specific process you need. We cannot give you legal advice and recommend that you seek the services of an attorney if you need legal assistance. Crystal S. Smalls has served as the Associate Judge since 1990 and she hears cases in the Therapeutic Division. I have had the privilege of being your Probate Judge since 2002. If you need any of the services offered by the Berkeley County Probate Court, please give us the opportunity to serve you. We are committed to providing you with the service you need with the respect and courtesy you deserve.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you, it has been both a privilege and pleasure.

Keith W. Kornahrens

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