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. I think 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.
- 30-day law
- A summary of my situation
- Caldwell Inc.
- Emma Dean
- Ensemble Capital
- Frankie Griffin
- Health Wealth and Happiness
- Henry McMaster
- Kenny Bingham
- news media
- Nikki Haley
- Nikki Setzler
- President-elect Trump
- Return to Joy
- SC Policy Council