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.

3/17/2017 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. 

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