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 the probate court judge in Columbia, S.C., one of the largest probate courts in the state. She now utilizes those 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 the task force to implement mediation in the probate courts, and assisted in drafting the rule for probate court mediation. She has assisted 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 the legislature 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 South Carolina Trust Code committee and chaired the South Carolina Probate Code committee that recommended changes in the law, which became effective in 2014 and 2016. Cathy is a former member of the Probate and Estate Planning Specialization Advisory Board and a past chair of the Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Section of the South Carolina Bar. Having served as a past member of the South Carolina Bar's Board of Governors, she presently serves as a member of its House of Delegates and on the Executive Council for the Senior Lawyers Division. She has been elected to membership in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a national invitation–only organization recognizing attorneys with exceptional skill and expertise in trust and estate matters.
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 a past president of Columbia Green, a non-profit organization that seeks to beautify the greater Columbia area. She is also a past member of the Board of Central Carolina Community Foundation, having chaired the Community Impact Committee, and is currently a member of the Columbia Rotary Club.