Cathy Kennedy is recognized throughout South Carolina for her expertise in probate and trust matters. She has experience from both sides of the bench. From 1987 to 1999, Cathy served as probate court judge in Columbia, S.C., one of the largest probate courts in the state. She was active in the National College of Probate Judges and served on the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Probate Judges’ Association, where she chaired the Probate Code and the Forms Committees.
Now in private practice, Cathy utilizes skills gained as a judge in representing individuals and fiduciaries in complicated probate and trust matters. Unlike many probate practitioners, Cathy assists in both uncontested and contested estates. She is ever mindful of the expense of litigation and attempts to bring a practical approach to the resolution of disputes. Knowing how litigation can damage relationships, Cathy served on a task force to implement a mediation program in the probate courts and assisted in drafting the rules for probate court mediation. She assists in training mediators in alternative dispute resolution in the probate court and, as a mediator, takes great satisfaction in moving parties toward restoration of family bonds.
Cathy brings her wide and varied probate experience to bear in drafting estate plans. A former teacher, Cathy enjoys explaining complicated estate and tax concepts in understandable terms. She also advises many professionals in the intricacies of wealth protection planning. Knowing all too well what can go wrong in a poorly planned estate, Cathy counsels her clients, crafting a plan that achieves their goals during their lifetime and at death, avoids potential disputes and minimizes tax ramifications.
Cathy frequently testifies before legislative committees on changes in South Carolina probate and trust law, and has been requested to serve as an expert witness in probate matters. She served on the committee studying the Uniform Trust Code, which resulted in the enactment of the South Carolina Trust Code in 2005. She chaired a committee of the South Carolina Bar that recommended changes to the South Carolina Probate Code, which became effective January 1, 2014. Cathy is a past chair of the Probate Estate Planning and Trust section of the South Carolina Bar and serves as a member of the Board of Governors and in the House of Delegates.
Cathy is a lifelong resident of Columbia. An avid gardener, she is a past president of the Columbia Garden Club, has chaired the Board of the Columbia Garden Club Foundation, and is currently serving as President of Columbia Green, a non-profit organization that seeks to beautify the greater Columbia area. She is a member of the Board of Central Carolina Community Foundation, chairing the Community Impact Committee, and is a member of the Columbia Rotary Club.