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Probate Law

September - November 2013

Putative spouse doctrine
The putative spouse doctrine is not recognized in this state as it is contrary to South Carolina’s statutory law and marital jurisprudence.
Hill v. Bell
, Op. No. 27308 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 28, 2013) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 38 at 109).


July - Oct. 2012

Statute of limitations
Pursuant to Sections 62-3-801(a) and 62-3-803(a) of the S.C. Probate Code, creditors who are not given actual notice of the probate of an estate must present their claims within eight months after the date of first publication of the notice or be forever barred.
Phillips v. Quick, No. 5003 (S.C. Ct. App., July 18, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 24).


March - May 2012

Ademption
A written beneficiary designation in an IRA Agreement does not satisfy the contemporaneous writing requirement of S.C. Code Section 62-2-610 where there is no evidence that a deduction from such account is meant to satisfy a devise.
Estate of Gill v. Clemson University, No. 4951 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 7, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 9)

Administration of funds
Funds from an IRA account do not have to be administered according to a will, regardless of whether the funds are being used for the same purpose as a bequest in the will. 
Estate of Gill v. Clemson University, No. 4951 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 7, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 9)

Ambiguities
A single bequest cannot be found where a decedent leaves both a will and an IRA account, the latter being a non-testamentary asset. The two should not be read together to assert the existence of a latent ambiguity in the will.
Estate of Gill v. Clemson University, No. 4951 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 7, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 9)

Evidence
Where a statement is made almost a year after the creation of a will, it cannot be admitted at trial as an existing state of mind hearsay exception under SCRE 803(3).
Estate of Gill v. Clemson University, No. 4951 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 7, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 9).