In The Court of Appeals

Stephen J. Lehman and Kimberly A. Lehman, Petitioners,        Appellants,

In the Matter of Kaleigh Lehman:  Nadia Black, Guardian ad Litem, and Carolina First Bank, Court Appointed Conservator,        Respondents.

Appeal From Horry County
Lynn H. Fox, Associate Judge of Probate

Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-013
Submitted October 22, 2002 – Filed January 7, 2003   


Clifford H. Tall, of Myrtle Beach, for Appellants

Carolina First Bank, Court Appointed Conservator, of Myrtle Beach; Nadia Rasheed Black, of Myrtle Beach; pro se.

PER CURIAM:  Kimberly and Stephen Lehman appeal the probate court’s refusal to award from their minor daughter’s estate reasonable legal expenses necessarily incurred to establish a conservatorship over the daughter’s estate.  We reverse.

The Respondents, the Guardian ad Litem and Carolina First Bank, did not file a brief.  If a respondent fails to file a brief, the appellate court may take such action as it deems proper.  Rule 208(a)(4), SCACR; see Turner v. Santee Cement Carriers, Inc., 277 S.C. 91, 282 S.E.2d 858 (1981) (finding where respondent did not file brief, the Supreme Court could take such action upon the appeal as it deemed proper; although failure alone would justify reversal, the Court simply considered it as an additional ground); Wierszewski v. Tokarick, 308 S.C. 441, 418 S.E.2d 557 (Ct. App. 1992) (deeming it proper to reverse on points presented, rather than search the record for reasons to affirm where respondent did not file a brief).

Here, the record reveals the Lehmans incurred legal expenses in pursuing a conservatorship over their minor daughter’s estate.  By not filing a brief, the Respondents impliedly consent that the expenses were properly charged to the minor daughter’s estate.  Therefore, we reverse the probate court’s refusal to reimburse the Lehmans for legal expenses necessary to establish the conservatorship.