Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Time limit on wills creates false public record, insults the living and the dead

Talk about treating the bereaved like dirt.

One of the worst parts of putting time limits on wills is requiring victims of the senseless scam to participate in establishing a public record that is nothing short of a boldfaced lie about their deceased loved one. The public record makes it appear that the loved one left no will. It's embarrassing, insulting, and shows that self-serving attorney-legislators couldn't care less about the bereaved.

I'd like to know how Senator Setzler thinks it makes someone feel to have their affairs placed on hold - a kind of legalized extortion - unless they hand over thousands of dollars in attorney fees and participate in establishing a false public record that disrespects their deceased loved one. Perhaps the"senator" is too busy making bank deposits to lend a helping hand to victims of South Carolina's probate racket.

The very idea of a gang of greedy, attorney-legislators sneaking around behind people's backs and nullifying wills while a complicit mainstream media keeps things quiet. Anyone who would be a party to such connivery is a shameless coward, devoid of conscience. Same goes for all the other idiotic complexities quietly added to the probate code.

It was a hoot when the attorney I spoke with in Senator Setzler's law firm came up with an open-ended fee - $1,500 plus $275 per hour - to address my mother's "deemed intestacy." I shudder to think what the final number of hours would be as a perfectly viable will is cast aside and a probate attorney starts wading through the slew of complexities to perform a Determination of Heirs. Somehow, I don't think an attorney with an open-ended fee agreement would be in much of a hurry to get any of the ridiculous requirements completed. Those complexities added to the probate code in 1986 have no doubt served Senator Setzler quite well, while his constituents have been betrayed.

No wonder probate-attorney Setzler would rather not talk about the probate racket. After the brief, self-serving blabber he came up with as a reply to the email I sent him last year, Senator Setzler has now clammed up entirely about the probate racket. This year, he won't even so much as acknowledge receipt of my email suggesting he introduce a bill similar to the one introduced last year by House "Ethics" Chairman Kenny Bingham. Who does Senator Setzler think he's supposed to represent, and who does he think pays his salary? Of course, I realize that the salary - $10,400 per year plus per diem - is pocket-change for career politicians like probate-attorney Setzler. But even so...

Public Accountant Setzler needs to account for his questionable behavior over the past 30 years, including how much money his law firm - founded in 1977, the same year he first won his senate seat - has made from inheritance-related cases. Really, folks: What kind of "representative" refuses to reply to an e-mail from a constituent?

I'll send Senator Setzler a link to this post - taxpayers are due an explanation regarding his lack of interest in simplifying probate.

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an email expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

3/24/2017 - Picketed 2 hrs this afternoon in front of that probate-dealing law firm (they ain't happy with my choice of location, but that's another story) across from Lexington Probate Court. GREAT response, thanks to all. Signals of support and blog visits are WAY up.

3/21/2017 update - Twitter continues to ramp up the political censorship of my tweets. Some tweets "get through" and appear in real-time and/or on my profile page, but most are blocked from one venue and/or the other.

3/20/2017 update - As interest grows re South Carolina's probate racket and Nikki Setzler's refusal to reply to my email, Twitter is blocking my tweets from real-time and from appearing on my profile page. Sample tweet: @NikkiSetzler A GREEDY conservative who profits from self-serving legislation. #SouthCarolina (link to this post). Such tweets produce several immediate blog visits when published in accordance with standard Twitter procedures. CORRUPT GOVERNMENTS DON'T LIKE FREE SPEECH.

3/17/2017 update - Picketed over 2 hours today cater-cornered from Lexington Probate Court (best exposure, and the probate-dealing law firm I'm in front of provides a perfect backdrop). The encouragement from motorists and pedestrians was PHENOMENAL. BLOG VISITS ARE WAY UP, A MILLION THANKS TO ALL WHO HELPED. Law firms that have advertised probate-related services at any time over the past 30 yrs should be ashamed of themselves.

3/16/2017 update - picketed at Lexington Probate Court (cater-cornered across the street) for 30 mins. GREAT RESPONSE - THANKS FOR VISITING THIS BLOG. Also sent a link to this post to Gov. McMaster via Twitter. TWITTER CENSORSHIP CONTINUES, INCLUDING BLOCKING THE TWEET TO MCMASTER FROM APPEARING IN REAL-TIME. 

3/15/2017 update - My pleasure to send Tricky Nikki Setzler a link to this post via South Carolina Legislature Online and via Twitter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Senator Setzler can run, but he can't hide

You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Last year, I sent an email to the senator asking what he had done to simplify probate requirements, and I encouraged him to support Kenny Bingham's bill. After two weeks without a reply, I published a blog post, sent the senator a link to it, published the link on Twitter and Facebook, and made two appearances in front of the senator's law firm directing people to this blog. Almost immediately thereafter, I received the reply from Senator Setzler stating that he was "inclined to support Representative Bingham's bill."

Nice try at making it appear that you would like to help your constituents, Senator, but it was late in the 2016 legislative session, odds were overwhelmingly strong that Bingham's bill would never make it out of committee, and "Ethics" Chairman Bingham had announced his intention to retire. Bingham's bill was indeed too little too late, and of course Senator Setzler ignored those pesky questions I asked him in my blog post.

By the time Senator Setzler got around to replying to my email, the legislative gang's attitude toward victims of South Carolina's probate/trust racket had been underscored by the repulsive charade put on by "Ethics" Chairman Bingham and attorney Emma Dean of the House Judiciary Committee. Only the profoundest of clods would pull such a stunt.

The main interest in Bingham's bill seemed to be in making sure the bill was kept as quiet as possible.

This year, I decided to see just how sincere probate-attorney Setzler actually is about simplifying the probate code, and on 1/30/17 - over three weeks ago - I sent him an e-mail suggesting that he introduce a bill similar to Kenny Bingham's for the current legislative session. And wouldn't ya know it, just like last year, I have yet to find any replies from the senator.

Point is, nobody should have to prompt Senator Setzler to initiate efforts to clean up South Carolina's probate/trust racket. The senator - a career politician for 40 years - probably had a hand in initiating those attorney-serving complexities to the probate code, but regardless of his role at the time, Senator Setzler has had about 30 years to take action on behalf of the bereaved. Of course, the senator never saw fit to inform his constituents that the probate code had been turned into a money-making scheme for attorneys, and it was a hoot the way the attorney I spoke with in Senator Setzler's law firm intimated that the 1986 revision to the probate code was done on behalf of the taxpaying public. Silence is indeed golden for the probate/trust racket.

Attorney-legislators must be dancing in the aisles now that the governorship has gone to one of their own. The state's new governor - Henry McMaster - is another career politician and former Attorney General who's already been embroiled in a scandal and who somehow forgot to mention the state's probate/trust racket in the much ballyhooed video he made upon taking office.

I understand this entire situation quite well, Senator Setzler. There you are a well-entrenched, career politician, and here I am, just a lowly constituent.


What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

3/15/2017 update: Twitter's political censorship continues - my tweets blocked from real-time.

3/14/2017 update: There was a brief pause in Twitter's censorship (3/10 update) but it resumed today as soon as I got 14 blog visits. Interest in South Carolina's probate racket is increasing, and Senator Setzler's kind would never be elected if "news" organizations like WIS-10 did their job and informed the public about pertinent issues. Not a word from the "senator" re my 1/30/2017 e-mail.

3/10/2017 update: Visits to this blag have soared lately, due mostly to my picketing and activities on Twitter (@ParrisBoyd). Please know that Twitter has now blocked my "Setzler tweets" from real-time publication in addition to blocking almost all of my tweets re Senator Setzler and the probate racket from appearing on my profile page, which would have been an open invitation for re-tweets. How long this will continue is anyone's guess. Social media is controlled by corrupt governments - spread the word about Senator Setzler and the probate racket.

3/9/2017 update: Picketed across the street from Lexington County Probate Court for about 2 hrs starting around 12:30. FANTASTIC RESPONSE - THANKS A MILLION to everyone who signaled support. If you were one of quite a few that took a photo, it would be GREAT if you posted it on the Internet.

2/27/2017 update: My, my, probate-attorney Setzler sure has gotten quiet about simplifying probate. How come, Tricky Nikki? The attorney I spoke with in your law firm certainly wasn't bashful about coming up with an exorbitant, open-ended fee ($1,500 up front plus $275 an hour) for services that never should have been required in the first place regarding my mother's will.

2/25/2017 update: Bicycling home yesterday, Sen. Setzler's law firm was on the way. Jus' COULDN'T RESIST standing in front of the joint for 15 mins protesting the probate racket.

2/24/2017 update: Another round of protesting in front of the State House as Senator Setzler clams up. MANY THANKS to all who signaled support and visited this blog. Today it was an ABC WOLO, "news" crew that drove by but declined to investigate. Never mind that their studio is directly across the street from the State House  Special interests have taken control of mainstream media. 

2/23/2017 update: Still no reply from Senator Setzler, and today I stood in front of the SC State House - where the senator is probably holed up - with a sign directing folks to this blog. Many thanks to all who signaled support, and it was a hoot watching an NBC WIS-10 "news" crew nonchalantly drive by, apparently knowing better than to investigate and submit a story.

2/21/2017 update: My pleasure to e-mail a link to this post to Senator Setzler and (via Twitter) to Governor McMaster.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An "ambassador" who treats the bereaved like dirt?

Update 1/19/2017 - Lately I've been standing in front of Senator Setzler's law firm with a sign directing folks to this blog, and this afternoon I also stood in front of Lexington County Probate Court. MANY THANKS to everyone who signaled support. Iinterest in the issue seems to be increasing.

I received a tweet from a probate-reform activist in Texas after I tweeted that it's my pleasure to confront America's probate racket, pointing out that the bereaved are treated like dirt. @ReneeinTx tweeted back, "TY!! you do understand, how they have disgracefully disrespected the soul of my husband and me. bless you from my heart."

I understand quite well, and Renee and I have lots of company all across the land. My case features an insulting effort to make it appear - wrongly and publicly - that my mother left no will. Prior to the time limit being placed on wills, my mother paid an attorney to have a will drawn up, her wishes are clearly stated, and that will should be honored. Anything short of that is a scam, and I cannot in good conscience be silent about it.

Members of the probate/trust gang - headquartered in the South Carolina legislature - are some of the absolute lowest forms of life in the universe. Their ghoulish counterparts rob graves under cover of darkness.

From the gang's point of view, the more shattered their victims are, the better for the gang's bank accounts. These sorry excuses for humans smugly assume that they'll never be confronted by those they torment and fleece. Their entire racket depends on bullying their victims into submission.

Is it easier to cooperate with a gang of thugs than to confront injustice? Bereaved victims who choose to cooperate apparently hope - in a kind of pitiful desperation - that the process of bereavement will be lessened if they quietly submit to the indignities, the insults, and the unwarranted costs hurled at them by "their" elected representatives. The probate/trust gang plies its disgusting trade quite well, self-assured that its already-wounded victims wouldn't dare to confront a perverse, well-entrenched power structure such as theirs.

It adds insult to injury that President-elect Trump picked South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for - of all things - an ambassador. He favors a governor who - by her appalling silence - treats the bereaved like dirt. When I tweeted Trump and Haley "An ambassador who treats the bereaved like dirt?" my activist friend in Texas fired off a tweet to Haley that epitomizes the justifiable anger of victims of the probate/trust racket: "@nikkihaley how about rectifying your bad deeds in probate before you climb the ladder? Disgraceful!" followed by a link to this blog. Trump's choice certainly doesn't bode well for efforts to clean up the probate racket.

America has become a sleazy little rat-hole of corruption, deceit, and dishonesty. A place where corporate crookedness holds sway in every aspect of society. We no longer have rule of law or a free press, and regulatory agencies protect not the public, but those entities they are charged with regulating. In my open remarks to Senator Setzler, I asked a number of questions which the senator sidestepped when he replied to my e-mails. Senator Setzler and his cohort attorney-legislators should have to disclose the amount of income their law firms made from inheritance-related matters. As for the probate/trust racket in general, the former attorney I heard from offered an apt summary: "...attempts to steal the proceeds of estates has been a national disgrace for a long time."

Time limits on wills needs to be eliminated, not reformed, and the state's probate process needs to be simplified. Let's help the bereaved heal instead of trying to rip them off.

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

Update 1/18/2017 - My pleasure to tweet Governor Haley and President-elect Trump a link to this post.

Update 1/25/2017 - Somehow, I doubt that ATTORNEY - and now governor - Henry McMaster is gonna do anything to end South Carolina's probate racket. Sent the new governor a tweet - with a link to this poet - encouraging him to change the legislature's policy of treating the bereaved like dirt.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Election time, and the probate/trust gang is laughing all the way to the bank. Or to church...

"A worse criminal government has never existed. Yet, Americans remain subservient to the criminals that they have placed in power over themselves." - from an article by Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Ya can't really blame the probate/trust gang for those peals of laughter. Election time, and not one word about South Carolina's probate/trust racket. The money-grubbing scum who make life miserable - and expensive - for the bereaved have got to be rolling in the aisles as a cowardly public quietly submits to abuse and lines the pockets of probate attorneys and trust operations all across the state.

This is not how democracy is supposed to work.

America has degenerated into a sleazy little rat hole of pervasive corruption in both the public and private sectors, promoted by a presstitute mainstream media that "knows better" than to "tell it like it is." The very idea of "lawmakers" quietly passing probate laws designed to pad their own pockets, assured that we no longer have a free press offering any oversight.

As attorney-legislators do everything possible to nullify wills, someone said a friend of theirs from Kentucky was told that because a will written in that state had a "death with dignity" clause, the will wouldn't be valid in South Carolina. More evidence - none was needed - that probate attorneys are no longer satisfied to be paid exorbitant fees to draw up wills. They now want to also be paid gobs of moolah to administer estates, and the more wills that get nullified, the more profitable it is for members of the probate/trust racket. The scam works best, of course, when an unsuspecting public remains unaware of absurd laws designed to enrich the bank accounts of the probate/trust gang. Never underestimate the shock when a bereaved taxpayer suddenly discovers that "their" government has turned on them like a mad dog.

There wuzza time when slobs who betrayed the public trust ran the risk of being tarred, feathered, and ushered out of town on a rail. But no more. If anything, Americans have reduced themselves to name-droppin', social-climbin' morons who consider it an honor and a privilege not only to re-elect, but also to do business with high-falutin' thugs who hold political office. Amerika may be many things - the home of the brave it's not.

If kicking people around who are struggling through the process of bereavement weren't so brutal and cowardly, it would be a hoot watching the likes of Governor Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Policy Council, and "news" organizations like WIS-10 (promoting itself as SC's news "leader") refuse to address the probate/trust racket. The only "news" about probate is blabber extolling the virtues of setting up a trust, like a guy from Ensemble Capital that I heard on the radio program "Health, Wealth, and Happiness." Never any mention, of course, of how probate got to be so untenable for the taxpaying public. Corruption reigns supreme, and the "insouciance" of western peoples has indeed assigned their democracies to the trash bins of history. Another person I spoke with about the probate/trust racket immediately noted the connection between such corruption and the record-setting low voter turnout - I quit voting long ago - for South Carolina's last mid-term election.

I'll betcha every gang member involved in the probate/trust racket makes it a point to show up in church every Sunday without fail. Nuthin' like devotion to the Golden Rule...

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

Update 3/11/2017 - Probate attorney Nikki Setzler - re-elected again - is no doubt glad mainstream media keeps things quiet about the probate racket. Wonder if trust firms like Caldwell, Inc. contribute to Setzler's campaigns.

Update 11/17/2016 - Unconfirmed news accounts say Gov. Haley is being considered for a position in the Trump administration. Let's hope not - just sent the president-elect a tweet to that effect with a link to this blog.

Update 1/9/2017 - News reports have by now long been confirmed: Trump wants an "ambassador" (Gov. Haley) who treats the bereaved like dirt.




    

Friday, June 17, 2016

Law directing 30 days to file a will makes a mockery of bereavement

I don't know which is more repulsive: a gang of greedy, sadistic slobs in the legislature, or a tail-tucked public that tolerates being fleeced and kicked around.

Talk about laws that help South Carolina probate attorneys fleece the bereaved. You must present a will to the probate court within 30 days of a decedent's death or be subject to a penalty..

Right. Ya wanna hit the bereaved as shortly as possible after the death of a loved one in order to get the maximum impact of all those complexities self-serving attorneys in the legislature have written into the probate process. Sure to send victims of South Carolina's probate racket scurrying off to a probate attorney, checkbook in hand. Then they can tell everyone about "the horrors of probate," and why folks should pay attorneys to set up trusts.

At first, I thought it was kinda strange that the law has been kept relatively quiet. Then I discovered that nobody has actually been penalized for violating the law, and I realized that the 30-day law is just another effort to make life as miserable as possible for anyone who dares to rely on wills and the taxpayer-funded probate process when they claim an inheritance. Surprising heirs with news that they're already in violation of a probate law has that element of shock value, so cleverly and sadistically applied by South Carolina "lawmakers." Someone needs to drive the point home to these self-serving slobs that bereavement is a permanent injury, has no time limits, and affects every person differently.

The probate/trust racket is what tyranny looks like, and it's one shameful state of affairs for South Carolina.

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

For SC's probate racket, silence is golden

"...they cannot rescue themselves via the voting booth. In my opinion, the American people will remain serfs until they wake up to Revolution." - Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

It's been a hoot watching the charade of silence surrounding South Carolina's probate racket. From Governor Haley to mainstream media, the guideline is "keep it quiet," and news blackouts are in full swing, most notably, perhaps, by South Carolina's "News Leader," WIS-10. Even the SC Policy Council dares not address the issue. I've sent both of these "news" organizations links to this blog, and my Facebook message (with a link to this blog) to the local radio show, "Return to Joy," - which purports to help folks struggling through the process of bereavement - got no reply. 

A couple of months ago, I tuned in to another local radio spot, Frankie Griffin's "Success in Real Estate Show," and was treated to blabberings from a spokesperson for Caldwell, Inc., extolling the virtues of setting up trusts to avoid probate. How the taxpayer-funded nightmare of probate got started in South Carolina wasn't mentioned, and a "caller" chimed in with remarks about how simply having a will no longer offered any assurance that the probate process would be reasonably simple. Interesting that Caldwell, Inc. was founded shortly before the SC legislature turned the taxpayer-funded probate process into an attorney-serving nightmare for heirs. Realtor Frankie Griffin, incidentally, also promotes Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) - I call 'em neighborhood gangs - and he's quick to point out that HOAs have been granted police powers and can file liens and foreclose on properties. 

Ah, that orchestrated effort at brainwashing a gullible, cowardly public. The "Home of the Brave" is apparently scared to death of a gang of self-serving attorneys in the legislature, not to mention the American Bar Association. 

Meanwhile, Kenny Bingham's bill regarding time limits on wills never even got a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The effort at keeping things quiet regarding Chairman Bingham's watered-down bill - time limits on wills need to be abolished, not reformed - have been incredibly successful, and as things unfolded, I realized just how determined South Carolina's corrupt power structure is to bury the issue. The realization prompted me to re-publish a post I had previously removed, and include a detailed explanation of how the came to be published.

In my open remarks to Senator Setzler, I asked what it will take for the taxpaying public to get some fundamental decency out of this government. But here's a better question:

How much longer will the taxpaying public sacrifice its time, money, and effort at the alter of a pervasively corrupt power structure?

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

Update 2/23/2017 - Today I stood in front of the SC State House holding up a sign that directed folks to this blog, and it was a hoot watching a WIS-10 "news" crew drive nonchalantly by, apparently knowing better than to investigate and submit a story.

Update 1/27/2017 - In addition to having a slew of attorney-legislators, South Carolina now has an attorney-governor. Henry McMaster has yet to breathe a word about the probate racket.

Update 6/9/2016 - Dr. Paul Craig Roberts references a great article that discusses efforts to keep the public unaware of corrupt laws. South Carolina's probate racket epitomizes this sorry state of affairs.

Update 7/14/2016 - Caldwell, Inc. recently came up with a new radio ad. Their previous ad belted out "Probate is avoidable, peace of mind is attainable," but any reference to probate has now been removed. My, my, wonder why.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Maybe Senator Setzler didn't get my email...

Update 5/25/2016 - Yesterday at 5:19 PM, I received the following e-mail from Senator Setzler:

Mr. Boyd,

Thank you for cantacting me with your support of H.5196 along with your more recent email regarding this same matter. The bill was just recently introduced in April and has not made it to the Senate for review. Any similar legislation along with this legislation will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member. Upon receipt of your email from two weeks ago, I reviewed the language and have been in communication with others. We are in the last several weeks of this legislative session, and my email responses may be delayed relative to this issue. I am, however, inclined to support Representative Bingham's bill.

Nikki Setzler
______________________________________________________________________________

I'll say one thing about Nikki Setzler, the South Carolina state senator from my district who also happens to be a probate attorney: His law firm sure has a nice suite of offices. Plush carpeting, hardwood floors, the works. I was a bit put off when I first saw the note at the front door telling visitors to make sure they didn't have any grease on their shoes, but once I stepped inside...

I can understand a guy lookin' out for his interests.

Monday two weeks ago, I tried to send an e-mail to Senator Setzler, politely inquiring about what he's done, or plans to do, to simplify South Carolina's probate process. I pointed out that uncalled-for complexities have turned the process into a nightmare for anyone attempting to probate an inheritance, and that it takes an average of one year to complete. I also encouraged him to support Kenny Bingham's efforts to give probate courts discretion regarding when to apply South Carolina's 10 year limit on wills.

I didn't expect a very long list of efforts on his part to simplify the process, or even a willingness to support Kenny Bingham's bill. But I can't find any reply whatsoever.

Maybe Senator Setzler didn't get my e-mail.

Then again, probate attorneys in South Carolina must be incredibly busy these days, so maybe the senator simply doesn't have time to acknowledge e-mails. And if that's the case, Senator Setzler, I certainly understand:

Come to think of it, Senator, there are several other things I'd like to get your thoughts on.

When I spoke with an attorney who works in one of your fancy office suites, he implied that the funeral home should have informed me of South Carolina's 10 year limit on wills. Do you and the lawyers in your firm think that would be the appropriate time to discuss such matters?

As I mentioned in my e-mail, the probate process has become a nightmare. In fact, Senator, it has all the trappings of a racket, whereby people struggling through the process of bereavement are treated like dirt.

Tell me, Senator: What is it going to take for the taxpaying public to get some fundamental decency out of this government? Has the time come for massive displays of non-violent civil disobedience? In what sense do we have a democracy when a gang of so-called "legislators" look out for their own selfish interests instead of the legitimate interests of the people they are charged with representing?

I'll try again on the e-mail, with a link to this post, and I'll send a link to Governor Haley on Twitter. Hopefully, they'll both get the message.

What YOU can do:

>  Spread the word about the probate/trust racket. Most folks don't find out about the attorney-generated horrors of probate until they are struggling through the bereavement process, and shock value is a key part of the effort to browbeat people into hiring a probate attorney.

>  If you need help with non-probate matters, avoid using attorneys who advertise that they specialize in probate. Many attorneys refuse to get involved in the probate racket, and one of them told me with a wink, "It's a 'highly specialized' area of law."

>  Refuse to be bullied by the attorney-generated horrors of probate into paying attorneys to set up trusts. Probate is financed with tax dollars, and should be an inexpensive, viable alternative to setting up trusts. Executors (now called Personal Representatives) shouldn't need a law degree to probate an inheritance.

>  Cut costs by downloading your own estate documents - especially wills - from the Internet. Paying probate attorneys outlandish fees to "draw up a will" is risky business, because attorney-legislators have a vested interest in nullifying wills.

>  Last - and what certainly shouldn't be least (but probably is) - send "your representatives" an e-mail expressing your sentiments about the probate/trust racket.

Update 5/23/2016 - Many thanks to all those who signaled support as I picketed this afternoon in front of Nikki Setzler's law firm. The senator remains conveniently silent about South Carolina's probate racket.