Horry County probate judge race between two women with longtime experience in the judge’s office

troot@thesunnews.comMay 27, 2014 

  • Probate Judge candidates

    Deirdre W. Edmonds

    Address: Loris

    Age: 54

    Occupation/career: Lawyer; Probate Judge. Prior to assuming the office as Horry County Probate Judge in January 2003, I practiced law in Horry County for 15 1/2 years focusing on estate planning, probate, disability planning and elder law.

    Family: Married with three daughters

    Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of South Carolina, 1984; Juris Doctor, University of South Carolina School of Law, 1987

    Political experience: Elected Horry County Probate Judge, November 2002; re-elected November 2006 and November 2010

    Community involvement: (clubs, civic organizations, church, etc): Member, South Carolina Bar, Section on Probate, Estate Planning and Trust; Member, Horry County Bar Association, the National College of Probate Judges, and the S.C. Association of Probate Judges. Member, Grand Strand Area Estate Planning Council, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Carolinas Chapter of NAELA and the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association. Past President, S.C. Association of Probate Judges. Member, Chief Justice's Probate Judges Advisory Committee. Member, S.C. Bar Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Council’s, “Probate Code Overhaul Committee” from 2008 until 2012, which resulted in the overhaul of the S.C. Probate Code and its passage by the General Assembly in 2013. Instructor, South Carolina Court Administration’s “Mandatory New Probate Judges’ Training School”, 2006 to 2013. Member, Hickory Grove Baptist Church

    Hobbies: Gardening and reading

    1)Why should voters choose you?

    I am the most qualified candidate for Horry County Probate Judge. The burgeoning population of our county results in an ever-increasing caseload in our probate court.

    This increased caseload results in more litigation, much of which is contested, contentious, and complex. Having a probate judge with a law degree and legal experience ensures that we have a probate judge with the training, experience and legal background necessary to handle the legal cases that come before the probate court. I am the only candidate for probate judge that has a law degree. I am the only candidate for probate judge that is licensed to practice law. I am the only candidate for probate judge that has extensive legal practice in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, disability planning and elder law. I also have 11½ years of experience as the probate judge of Horry County. During my service as probate judge, I have updated and modernized the probate court to reflect the increasing population of our county, ensured that the staff is well-trained and knowledgeable regarding probate matters, and implemented new policies and procedures to ensure consistency among all court staff.

    I have also protected the rights of all persons appearing in the probate court while ensuring that people are treated with respect, compassion and dignity.

    Kathy Ward

    Address: Aynor

    Age: 57

    Occupation/career: Former Horry County Associate Probate Judge

    Family: Married, son, daughter and two grandchildren

    Education: Aynor High School and Horry Georgetown Technical College

    Political experience: none

    Community involvement: (clubs, civic organizations, church, etc): member Bakers Chapel Baptist Church; member of the National College of Probate Judges, former member of the SC Association of Probate Judges, and former Alternate Horry County Drug Court Judge

    1) Why should voters choose you?

    I have over 30 years of service and experience in the probate court in which 24 years have been served as your Associate Probate Judge. Born and raised in Horry County, I have a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to the residents of this great county.

Two women with experience in the Horry County Probate Judge’s office are vying for the judge’s seat in the upcoming Republican primary election on June 10.

Both women have spent considerable time working in the countywide probate judge office.

Deirdre Edmonds is the incumbent and has served for three previous terms. Her challenger, Kathy Ward, has more than 30 years of service including 24 years as an associate probate judge.

The women each said they plan to continue to offer compassion to families who must call on them after a loved one has died to deal with their will or estate, or other issues involving the issuance of marriage licenses, involuntary commitments and dealings of people who are incapacitated or underage.

“The probate court is the closest court to the people and everyone will need the services of the probate court at some point in your lives,” Ward said in her brief comments. “However, most people are unaware of the importance of the probate court until a crisis occurs.”

In addition to dealing with county residents during their time of need, Edmonds said the next probate judge will have to deal with an increasing caseload and storage of those growing records.

Edmonds also said probate judge employees must be responsive to the aging population and she proposes to implement a Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program to assist families of an elderly family member.

“A big challenge faced by all elected officials who oversee a county government office is to make their office as productive as possible within the confines of budgetary allowances without being a burden on the taxpayers while at the same time providing excellent customer service,” Edmonds said. “Under my direction, the Horry County Probate Court will continue to implement the use of technology to perform our functions, assist the public who must rely upon the services of the probate court, maximize productivity, and streamline the probate process while saving tax dollars.”

There are no Democrats vying for this seat.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or on Twitter @tonyaroot.

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