Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Estate of Paradeses

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

April 3, 2019

In the Matter of the Estate of William D. Paradeses
v.
Georganna Paradeses, Eleanor Glisson (Faye) a/k/a Faye Greeson, Pam Paradeses, Stephanie Starr, Robin Pace, Mary Paradeses and Jim Paradeses, Respondents, Georganna Paradeses, as Personal Representative of the Estate of William D. Paradeses, Petitioner, of whom Georganna Paradeses, individually, Pam Paradeses, Stephanie Starr, Robin Pace, Mary Paradeses and Jim Paradeses, are Appellants, and Eleanor Glisson (Faye), a/k/a Faye Greeson, is Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2016-001960

          Heard March 4, 2019

          Appeal From Richland County Amy W. McCulloch, Probate Court Judge

          Adam T. Silvernail, of Law Office of Adam T. Silvernail, of Columbia, for Appellants.

          James S. Murray, of Turner Padget Graham & Laney, PA, and Charles C. Stebbins, III, both of Augusta, Georgia, for Respondent.

          LOCKEMY, C.J.

         Georganna Paradeses, Pam Paradeses, Stephanie Starr, Robin Pace, Mary Paradeses, and Jim Paradeses appeal the probate court's determination that a deletion to the last will and testament of William D. Paradeses was not properly executed, and thus, invalid. We affirm.

         FACTS

         William D. Paradeses (Testator) died testate on January 9, 2016. Testator's last will and testament (the Will), dated October 29, 2008, was discovered in his home and submitted to the probate court in Richland County on February 11, 2016. The Will contained a strikeout over the entirety of Item IV(2), which originally provided for a $50, 000 bequest to Faye Greeson[1] (Respondent). Next to the deletion was handwritten language stating, "Omit #2 W.D. Paradeses." The Will also contained a handwritten addition to Item IV(1), which placed a condition on Testator's bequest of his interest in the Saluda Investment Company.[2] The beneficiaries affected by this addition agreed to carry out the provisions of the addition, which did not affect the bequest to Respondent. It is undisputed there were no witnesses to either of the changes.

         On February 18, 2016, Georganna Paradeses, as personal representative of Testator's estate, filed a petition for declaratory judgment seeking an order from the probate court declaring the rights of the parties under the terms of the Will and the effect of the markings thereon. Respondent filed an answer denying the deletion was made by Testator and asserting the deletion failed due to improper attestation. Georganna Paradeses, Pam Paradeses Greeson, Stephanie Starr, Robin Pace, and Mary Paradeses (Appellants) answered and admitted Testator made the changes with the intent to change the Will.

         A hearing was held before the probate court on July 27, 2016. At the hearing, Respondent argued there was insufficient proof Testator struck Item IV(2) from the Will, and, even assuming he did, the deletion was ineffective because it was an attempt to create a codicil without the required signatures of two witnesses. Appellants argued section 62-2-506 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2018) provides for the revocation of any part of a will by, among other things, cancellation. Citing several cases from other jurisdictions, Appellants argued the probate court should compel the acceptance of Testator's revocation of the $50, 000 bequest by his cancellation of the same by striking it out of the Will, which was in his possession at the time of his death.

         In an August 2016 order, the probate court found the addition and deletion to the Will were made after the Will was properly executed in the presence of two witnesses. The court determined the changes were consistent with an attempted codicil and required proper execution. The court held there were no known witnesses to the changes, and thus, they were not properly executed. Accordingly, the court found Respondent's right to the bequest of $50, 000 remained valid. The probate court subsequently denied Appellants' motion to alter or amend. In its order, the court noted it analyzed the addition and the deletion together in determining the changes were an attempted codicil and not merely a revocation of part of the Will. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The standard of review applicable to cases originating in the probate court is controlled by whether the underlying cause of action is at law or in equity. Howard v. Mutz, 315 S.C. 356, 361-62, 434 S.E.2d 254, 257-58 (1993). This is an action at law. NationsBank of S.C. v. Greenwood, 321 S.C. 386, 392, 468 S.E.2d 658, 662 (Ct. App. 1996) (holding an action to construe a will is an action at law). If a proceeding in the probate court is in the nature of an action at law, review by this court extends merely to the correction of legal errors. Townes Assocs. Ltd. v. City of Greenville, 266 S.C. 81, 86, 221 S.E.2d 773, 775 (1976), abrogated on other grounds by, In re Estate of Kay, 423 S.C. 476, 816 S.E.2d 542 (2018).

         LA ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.