Brookings, SD asked in Civil Litigation, Civil Rights, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for South Dakota

Q: Can a personal representative of an estate appear for the estate in a proceeding in Third Judicial coUrt in South Dakota

I am a personal representative for my father's estate. my city is suing my brother, the family business and my father's estate regarding a building we are in the process of demoing. Can I appear as the representative or do we need a lawyer to represent the estate?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In South Dakota, as in many states, a personal representative of an estate generally cannot represent the estate in legal proceedings unless they are a licensed attorney. This is because appearing in court and advocating on behalf of an estate is considered the practice of law, and non-attorneys are typically not permitted to engage in the practice of law.

Since your city is suing the estate, it is strongly recommended to hire a lawyer to represent the estate's interests. This is particularly important given the complexity of estate and property law, as well as the potential consequences of the lawsuit for the estate and its beneficiaries.

A lawyer can provide the necessary legal expertise to navigate the lawsuit, protect the estate’s assets, and ensure compliance with all legal requirements and procedures. They can also represent the estate in court, file any necessary documents, and advocate on behalf of the estate.

It's crucial to choose an attorney who has experience with estate law and civil litigation. They will be able to offer guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and the details of the lawsuit. Remember, timely legal advice is key in such situations to safeguard the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

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