2019 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 62 - South Carolina Probate Code
Article 5 - Protection Of Persons Under Disability And Their Property
Section 62-5-431. Payment of benefits from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to a minor or an incapacitated person; definitions.
(A) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Estate" and "income" include only monies received from the VA, all real and personal property acquired in whole or in part with these monies, and all earnings, interest, and profits.
(2) "Benefits" means all monies payable by the United States through the VA.
(3) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or his successor.
(4) "Protected person" means a beneficiary of the VA.
(5) "Conservator" has the same meaning as provided in Section 62-1-201 but only as to benefits from the VA.
(B) Whenever, pursuant to a law of the United States or regulation of the VA, the Secretary requires that a conservator be appointed for a protected person before payment of benefits, the appointment must be made in the manner provided in this part, except to the extent this section requires otherwise. The petition shall show that the person to be protected has been rated incapable of handling his estate and monies on examination by the VA in accordance with the laws and regulations governing the VA.
(C) When a petition is filed for the appointment of a conservator and a certificate of the secretary or his representative is filed setting forth the fact that the appointment of a conservator is a condition precedent to the payment of benefits due the protected person by the VA, the certificate is prima facie evidence of the necessity for the appointment and no examiner's report is required.
(D) Except as provided or as otherwise permitted by the VA, a person may not serve as conservator of a protected person if the proposed conservator at that time is acting simultaneously as conservator for five protected persons. Upon presentation of a petition by an attorney for the VA alleging that a person is serving simultaneously as a conservator for more than five protected persons and requesting that person's termination as a conservator for that reason, upon proof substantiating the petition, the court shall restrain that person from acting as a conservator for the affected protected person and shall require a final accounting from the conservator. After the appointment of a successor conservator if one is warranted under the circumstances, the court shall terminate the appointment of the person as conservator in all requested cases. The limitations of this section do not apply when the conservator is a bank or trust company.
(E) The conservator shall file an inventory, accountings, exhibits or other pleadings with the court and with the VA as provided by law or VA regulation. The conservator is required to furnish the inventory and accountings to the VA.
(F) Every conservator shall invest the surplus funds in his protected person's estate in securities, or otherwise, as allowed by law, and in which the conservator has no interest. These funds may be invested, without prior court authorization, in direct interest-bearing obligations of this State or of the United States and in obligations in which the interest and principal are both unconditionally guaranteed by the United States Government.
(G) Whenever a copy of a public record is required by the VA to be used in determining the eligibility of a person to participate in benefits made available by the VA, the official charged with the custody of the public record shall provide a certified copy of the record, without charge, to an applicant for the benefits, a person acting on his behalf, or a representative of the VA.
(H) With regard to a minor or a mentally incompetent person to whom, or on whose behalf, benefits have been paid or are payable by the VA, the secretary is and must be a necessary party in a:
(1) proceeding brought for the appointment, confirmation, recognition, or removal of a conservator;
(2) suit or other proceeding, whether formal or informal, arising out of the administration of the person's estate; and
(3) proceeding which is for the removal of the disability of minority or of mental incompetency of the person.
(I) In a case or proceeding involving property or funds of a protected person not derived from the VA, the VA is not a necessary party, but may be an interested party in the proceedings.
(J) For services as conservator of funds paid from the VA, a conservator may be paid an amount not to exceed five percent of the income of the protected person during any year. If extraordinary services are rendered by a conservator, the court may, upon application of the conservator and notice to the VA, authorize additional compensation payable from the estate of the protected person. No compensation is allowed on the corpus of an estate derived from payments from the VA. The conservator may be allowed reimbursement from the estate of the protected person for reasonable premiums paid to a corporate surety upon the bond furnished by the conservator.
HISTORY: 2016 Act No. 278 (S.777), Section 1, eff June 9, 2016. Formerly Code 1976 Section 62-5-436, renumbered and amended by 2017 Act No. 87 (S.415), Section 5.A, eff January 1, 2019.
Prior Laws: Former Section 62-5-431 was titled Payment of debt and delivery of property to foreign conservator without local proceedings, and had the following history: 1986 Act No. 539, Section 1. See now, Code 1976 Section 62-5-429.