Get Answers to Your Highest Priority South Dakota Legal Questions

Swier Law Firm FAQ


Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.

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  • What is a "holographic will"?

    A "Holographic Will" is a will that is partially or fully handwritten. Not all states recognize holographic wills. However, South Dakota does recognize holographic wills.

    Example: My grandma wrote a holographic will. She meant to have an attorney type it up, but never got around to it, but we were able to file her handwritten version with the court when she died.

  • What is a "Pour-Over Will"?

    A "Pour-Over Will" is used together with a revocable trust to “pour” any assets that were not in a decedent’s trust at the time of death over to the trust.

    Example: My wife and I have formed revocable trusts as part of our estate plan, but we still need to sign Pour-Over Wills for things that aren’t held in our trust when we die.

  • What is a "will contest"?

    A "Will Contest" does not determine who has the best Will, it is a process where someone files a formal objection to a Will. 

    The objection could be for any number of reasons, but the objection must be filed with and heard by the court of the county where probate of the Will is taking place.

    Example: My uncle filed an objection to my grandma’s Will. He says grandma wasn’t competent when she wrote him out of the Will and didn’t know what she was doing.

  • What is an "ancillary administration"?

    ​An "Ancillary Administration" occurs when a probate needs to be opened in another state, generally because a decedent owned real estate or other property there.

    Example:  I had to open an ancillary administration in Illinois for my mom’s estate because she owned land in Illinois. This was necessary for me to pay-off the debt and sell the property in Illinois, but the land and the proceeds from the sale were then reported as part of the probate process in South Dakota.

  • What other estate planning documents should I have?

    Besides a last will and testament or trust, everyone should have a financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and a living will.  

    If you want to know more about all 4 of these essential documents, please see our book Estate Planning in South Dakota

  • Can you keep your farming operation after a South Dakota divorce?

    Possibly. Most people going through a divorce do not consider the option of keeping the farming operation intact. Typically, most thoughts go to dividing the farm/ranch assets and inventory. However, there is another option - keeping the business intact. This has several advantages, especially if this is a multi-generational farm family business.

  • Why should you be careful about posting on social media during Coronavirus?

    As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, most people in South Dakota are being encouraged to stay inside and socially isolate themselves from others in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. To find a distraction and some entertainment, this is resulting in more social media postings. Because of this, it is important to realize how these platforms can impact the outcome of divorce and custody proceedings. 

    You must be aware that improper social media posting can have a negative impact on your case. You should never make posts that are negatively directed to your former spouse or soon-to-be former spouse. Also, "debating" with your former spouse on social media can result in negative consequences. Discussing your case or bad-mouthing your partner will likely work against you.  

    Finally, other behavior that could impact the outcome of your divorce can include posting certain pictures. Posting pictures of you drinking or partying could be used against you in terms of child custody. Posting pictures of new purchases and vacations can result in arguments regarding alimony or child support payments. 

    Make sure that you're careful with your social media postings during this unprecedented time!

  • What Will Be The Required Application Documents For The PPP?

    Here is a list of what we believe you'll need for a lender to process your PPP application:

    • Completed Application
    • Completed SBA Paycheck Protection Program Application Form (SBA Form 2483)
    • Articles of Incorporation/Organization of each borrowing entity
    • By Laws/Operating Agreement of each borrowing entity
    • All owners Driver’s Licenses (front and back)
    • Certification Form executed by the recipient
    • Payroll Expense verification documents may include, but not limited to, the following (subject to change once SBA guidelines have been released): 
      • IRS Form 940 and 941
      • Payroll Summary Report with corresponding bank statement
      • If a Payroll Summary Report is not available, Employee Pay Stubs as of February 15, 2020 (or corresponding period) with corresponding bank statement
      • Breakdown of payroll benefits (vacation, allowance for dismissal, group healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, etc.)
      • 1099s (if Independent Contractor)
      • Certification that all employees live within the United States. If any employees do not live in the Unites States, provide a detailed list with corresponding salaries of all employees outside the United States
      • Trailing twelve-month profit and loss statement (as of the date of application) for all applicants.
    • Most recent Mortgage Statement or Rent Statement (Lease)  
    • Most recent Utility Bills (Electric, Gas, Telephone, Internet, Water) 

  • How should teacher non-renewal issues be dealt with in the age of coronavirus?

    Over the past few days, we've had a number of questions regarding South Dakota's teacher non-renewal laws and their applicability in the age of the coronavirus. Here are five fundamentals for teacher non-renewals and our law firm's suggestions as to how to move forward.

    Fundamental #1 - Reasons Needed for Non-Renewal of Tenured Teacher's Contract

    SDCL 13-43-6.1 provides:

    A school district may non-renew a teacher who is in or beyond the fourth consecutive term of employment as a teacher with the school district (i.e., a "tenured" teacher) for just cause, including

    • breach of contract;
    • poor performance;
    • incompetency; 
    • gross immorality;
    • unprofessional conduct;
    • insubordination; 
    • neglect of duty; or
    • the violation of any policy or regulation of the school district.

    Fundamental #2 - Date By Which Recommendation for Non-Renewal of Tenured Teacher's Contract Must Be Given

    SDCL 13-43-6.3 provides:

    After a teacher is in or beyond the fourth consecutive term of employment as a teacher with the school district (i.e., a "tenured" teacher), the superintendent or chief executive officer must notify the teacher and the school board in writing of the recommendation to not renew the teacher's contract on or before April fifteenth.

    Fundamental #3 - Reasons Needed for Non-Renewal of Non-Tenured Teacher's Contract

    SDCL 13-43-6.3 provides:

    Until a teacher is in or beyond the fourth consecutive term of employment as a teacher with the school district, a school board may or may not renew the teacher's contract.

    In other words, an administrator does not have to give any reason for the non-renewal of a non-tenured teacher's contract.

    Fundamental #4 - Date By Which Recommendation for Non-Renewal of Non-Tenured Teacher's Contract Must Be Given

    SDCL 13-43-6.3 provides:

    The superintendent or chief executive officer must give written notice of nonrenewal to a non-tenured teacher by April fifteenth.

    Fundamental #5 - Does the Coronavirus Impact These Non-Renewal Dates?

    Our law firm's recommendation is that school administrators should continue to follow the law which requires notice of non-renewal be given on or before April fifteenth. Although we are all in "unchartered waters" when it comes to the coronavirus' impact on our schools, the most prudent way of moving forward is to continue to follow the law as written.

    If you have any questions regarding these issues, please feel free to contact our office.

  • Does South Dakota recognize a same-sex marriage from another state?

    Yes. South Dakota does recognize a marriage between two persons of the same gender which was contracted from another state.