March 19, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

In the Matter of the Estate of Charles Rider (Carolyn Rider v Estate of Charles Rider et al.)

Shortly before his death, Charles ordered his bank to transfer securities to a new account in Carolyn’s name. Two transfers took place before his death and two after. The probate court ruled that the last transfer was ineffective as Charles’ death terminated the agency relationship with the bank and ordered those securities transferred to the estate. This order was affirmed by the circuit and court and the Court of Appeals. The Court unanimously reversed. Noting the surprising lack of case law on the issue, the Court held as matter of first impression that under South Carolina Code 36-8-101 et seq., the order to transfer securities was an “entitlement order” which obligated the bank to transfer the securities. Thus, the order was effective when issued and Charles’ subsequent death did not affect the effectiveness of the order. The Court noted this holding was consistent with the purposes of Article 8 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the commentary thereon while the ruling below would thwart the purpose of simplified transfer rules.

Walker v State

Walker obtained post-conviction relief based on his attorney’s failure to interview an alibi witness. The Court of Appeals reversed holding there was no ineffective assistance of counsel as the alibi evidence did not make it physically impossible for Walker to have committed the crime. The Court reversed. It held that the alibi evidence here, if believed, would support an inference of impossibility and given the very narrow scope of review in post-conviction cases (the any evidence in support standard), the Court declared itself constrained to affirm the grant of relief.

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