Estate Planning Attorney inJonesville, SC

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Securing Your Legacy in South
Carolina

Did you know that one in two U.S. citizens have yet to create a plan for their estate? Just about everyone knows they need to get their affairs in order, but most people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. It's an uncomfortable subject to think about. After all, nobody wants to ponder their death and what happens to their assets when they pass. However, working with an estate planning lawyer in Jonesville, SC, protects you, your loved ones, and your assets, both while you're alive and after you have died. There isn't a perfect time to plan your estate, but there is a right time and that time is now.

We understand that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to your estate planning needs. That's why, at CDH Law Firm, we make a concerted effort to speak with our clients personally so that we can create an estate plan that is as unique as they are. Our estate plans are comprehensive, cost-effective, and catered to you. That way, your family is provided if you are incapacitated or pass away.

At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that every one of our clients leaves our office feeling less stressed and more informed. Peace of mind is valuable currency these days. Why worry about the future of your loved ones when you can use South Carolina law to ensure their stability?

Many of the clients in Jonesville that walk through our doors have significant questions that require serious answers. They're filled with doubt, stress, and worry. They're worried about their children, their spouse, their relatives, or all the above. They ask questions like:

  • How much does estate planning cost?
  • What kind of results can I expect?
  • How long will this process take?

If these questions sound familiar, know that you are not alone. At CDH Law Firm, we have worked with hundreds of clients just like you. Sometimes, these clients are unsatisfied with their current estate planning attorney in Jonesville. Other times, they have been served with confusing papers or documents that leave them feeling overwhelmed. In either case, clients come to our office knowing they need to manage what is often a sudden, foreign situation.

The good news? We sit down with all new clients for an hour at no extra cost. We do so to get a basic sense of their situation and help steer them in the right direction. That way, they can leave our office feeling a little wiser and a lot better about the future.

Estate Planning Law Jonesville, SC
Service Areas

Our firm specializes in several areas of estate planning and family law, including:

  • Estate Planning
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Living Wills
  • Heath Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Retirement Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts

The CHSA Law
Difference

At CHSA Law, LLC, estate planning is like second nature to us. Having worked hundreds upon hundreds of cases, we have the knowledge and experience to assist with all the estate planning needs that you or your family have.

As our client, you will always work directly with your attorney. We do not pass cases off to paralegals or junior associates. Because your concerns and questions don't end when our office closes, we encourage our clients to contact us at any time.

Because we limit the number of cases we accept, we have the time and resources to truly dedicate ourselves to each of our clients. Unlike some competitors, we care about the outcome of every case because we know that our clients' future depends on it.

 Estate Planning Attorney Jonesville, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference
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What Our Clients Say

What is Estate Planning in
Jonesville, SC?

The word "estate" might make you think of a sprawling mansion in the French countryside. The truth is, you don't have to be rich to have an estate. In fact, most people already have an estate. An estate comprises the assets that a person owns like cars, bank accounts, real estate, businesses, and other possessions. Everyone's estate is different, but we all have one thing in common: none of us can take our estates with us when we die. When that does eventually happen, you will need legal instructions that state who gets what from your estate in plain terms.That, in a nutshell, is estate planning building a framework in advance that names the organizations or people that should receive your assets after you die. Planning your estate now helps make life much easier for your family down the line.

 Estate Planning Lawyer Jonesville, SC
A good estate plan covers more than fiscal assets, however. A comprehensive
estate plan should include the following:
  • If you have children who are minors, instructions as to who will be their guardian when you die.
  • Long-term care insurance if you suffer from an extended injury or illness.
  • Instructions that dictate what happens to you and your financial affairs if you become incapacitated before death.
  • Instructions on the transfer of your business after retirement, incapacity, disability, or death.
  • Instructions on how to provide for loved ones who might need help managing money or who need protection from creditors.
  • Probate and tax avoidance that help minimize court fees, taxes, and legal fees.
  • Planning Medicaid payments.
  • Instructions that help complete or update beneficiary designations.
  • Assist family members who have special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn't just for adults who are approaching retirement age. Estate planning is for everyone. After all, we're all getting older, and none of us know exactly when it will be our time to go.

The Basics of Estate Planning
in Jonesville, SC

Although estate planning can be complicated, a well-rounded plan makes a huge difference in what is left to your beneficiaries. Before you start planning your estate, it's important to know a few common topics that may arise as you detail your needs.

1.

Working with a Tax Advisor and Estate Planning
Attorney in Jonesville, SC

Working with a veteran estate planning lawyer is a no-brainer, but you should consider working with a tax advisor too. Your attorney's role is to help guide you through the creation of your estate planning documents. Common documents include your will, health care directives, and power of attorney. Your tax advisor will help guide you through tax issues associated with your estate planning needs.

In this relationship, you make the decisions while your attorney and tax advisor help you understand and think through the options you're considering. As a team, they will help you state your wishes clearly while minimizing mistakes and adjusting your plans as they change. Because significant savings can result from thorough, informed planning, you should seriously consider working with a tax advisor in addition to your estate planning attorney.

 Law Firm Jonesville, SC
2.

Maximizing
Your Estate

If there were one overriding theme of estate planning, it would be maximizing what you plan to leave behind. Thinking through how each of your assets will be distributed is crucial to your estate. Your decisions may change depending on the type of asset, its size, how old you are, and several other factors. With an attorney on your side, you will gain a thorough understanding of what actions you should take to care for your family while minimizing expenses like taxes and court fees.

Estate Planning Law Jonesville, SC
3.

Inheritance, Estate,
and Gift Taxes

One of the biggest parts of maximizing what you're leaving behind is to minimize taxes. Federal taxes on estates and gifts are incredibly high. Both forms of taxes usually have exemption limits, which means you can give up to a specific amount without being taxed. Your lawyer can achieve that by using the gift tax exemption to move assets while you are still alive. This strategy maximizes how much your beneficiaries will receive.

Inheritance taxes are often based on the value of your estate and paid prior to asset distribution to your beneficiaries.

 Estate Planning Attorney Jonesville, SC

Choosing the
Executor of Your Will

The executor of your estate plays a key role in your affairs. Their responsibilities include carrying out the terms of your will and seeing the estate settlement process through until the end. Obviously, such a role demands a qualified person. Choosing your executor isn't an easy decision. The person you select should be great at managing money, be savvy financially, and show an ability to be patient. That's because the executor is tasked with:

  • Collecting Your Assets
  • Paying Outstanding Bills
  • Submitting Tax Returns
  • Petitioning the Court for Documents
  • Distributing Assets to Your Beneficiaries
 Estate Planning Lawyer Jonesville, SC

If the person that you choose as executor is inexperienced with the estate settlement process, it is recommended that they lean on an estate planning attorney in Jonesville, SC for guidance. It should be noted that you may appoint more than a single executor to your estate. This is common when two individuals have complementary personalities or skill sets.

The Benefits of Estate Planning
in Jonesville, SC

One of the biggest benefits of planning your estate is the peace of mind it brings to you and your family. With the help of our expert estate planning attorneys, you have the power to protect your assets, privacy, and children's welfare. You can also potentially save money on taxes or even avoid probate. By having your wishes legally documented before death or incapacity, you can minimize any impact on your beneficiaries and take control of your legacy. Without a comprehensive estate plan, you're leaving the future of your loved ones in the hands of the South Carolina court system.

With an estate plan in place, you can plan for incapacity by using a power of attorney or advanced medical directives. Doing so relieves your loved ones of the burden of asking the court for the authority to fulfill your wishes.

At CDH Law Firm, we are committed to helping you prepare for both the expected and unexpected through years of experience and a fierce dedication to our clients. From establishing trusts to designing business succession plans, we are here to fight for you.

At CDH we offer a "Will Package" that includes 4 necessary documents.

If a husband and wife each purchase reciprocating will packages we give a discount. Reciprocating just means the husband names the wife and the wife names the husband. Those four documents are:

  • Last will and testament
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Durable power of attorney
  • living will

Common Documents Included
in Your Estate Plan

As mentioned above, everyone's estate planning needs will be different. However, most plans include one or more of the following documents:

1.

Will

Your will is an essential piece of documentation and is often considered the cornerstone of a proper estate plan. Generally speaking, your will is a document that dictates the distribution of your assets after your death. Having an iron-clad will is one of the best ways to make sure that your wishes are communicated clearly. As is the case with most estate planning, it is highly recommended that you work with an estate planning attorney in Jonesville, SC, to create and update your will.

The contents of a will typically include:

  • Designation of the executor, who is responsible for adhering to the provisions of your will.
  • Designation of beneficiaries the people who will be inheriting your assets
  • Instructions that dictate how and when your beneficiaries will receive assets.
  • Instructions that assign guardianship for any minor children.

Without a will in place, the State of South Carolina will decide how to distribute assets to your beneficiaries. Allowing the state to distribute your assets is often an unfavorable route to take, since the settlement process may not include what you had in mind for your survivors. Having a will drafted that reflects your wishes will prevent such a situation from happening.

 Law Firm Jonesville, SC
2.

Living Will

Despite its name, a living will does not instruct your survivors on what assets go where. Also called an advanced directive, your living will allows you to state your end-of-life medical wishes if you have become unable to communicate. This important document provides guidance to family members and doctors and solidifies certain issues like whether you should be resuscitated after an accident.

For example, it's common to direct that palliative care (care to decrease pain and suffering) always be administered if needed. Conversely, you may state that certain measures are not allowed, like CPR.

Estate Planning Law Jonesville, SC
3.

Trusts

Traditionally, a trust is used to minimize estate taxes and maximize other benefits as part of a well-rounded estate plan. This fiduciary agreement lets a trustee hold your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. There are many ways to arrange a trust to specify when and how your assets are distributed.

With a trust in place, your beneficiaries can avoid going to probate. That means they may be able to gain access to your assets quicker than when they are transferred with a standard will. Assets placed in a trust can pass outside of probate, which will save you and your family time, money, and stress.

There are two distinct trust categories that you should be aware of: revocable and irrevocable.

 Estate Planning Attorney Jonesville, SC

Revocable Trust:

Also called a living trust, a revocable trust helps assets circumvent probate. With this trust, you can control your assets while you are still alive. These trusts are flexible and may be dissolved at any point in time. This type of trust becomes irrevocable upon your death. Revocable trusts can help you avoid the pitfalls of probate but be aware that they are usually still taxable.

Irrevocable Trust:

This kind of trust transfers assets out of your estate so that they are not taxed and do not have to go through probate. However, once an irrevocable trust has been executed, it may not be altered. That means that once you establish this kind of trust, you lose control of its assets and cannot dissolve the trust. If your primary goal is to avoid taxes on your estate, setting up an irrevocable could be a wise choice.

When drafted with the help of an estate planning lawyer in Jonesville, SC, your trust can also:

Protect Your Legacy:

When constructed properly, a trust can protect your estate from your heirs' creditors. This can be a huge relief for beneficiaries who might need to brush up on money management skills.

Privacy and Probate:

Probate records are made available for public consumption. With a trust, you may have the choice of having your assets pass outside of probate court so that they remain private. In the process, you may also save money that you would lose to taxes and court fees.

Control Wealth:

Because you can specify the exact terms of a trust, you have more control over who receives your assets and when they receive them. As an example, you can set up a revocable trust so that your assets are attainable while you're alive. When you pass, remaining assets are distributed, even in complex situations involving children from multiple marriages.

The Top Estate Planning Law Firm in the Lowcountry

If you know that you need to provide for your family and loved ones after your death, it's time to develop your estate plan. With CDH Law Firm by your side, planning your estate doesn't have to be difficult. However, it does need to be accurate and executed exactly to your wishes something that we have been helping clients achieve for years. Don't leave your legacy up to chance contact our office today and secure your future generations.

CONTACT US

Latest News in Jonesville, SC

Belk department store says it is laying off over 300 workers in South Carolina

Charlotte-based Belk department store is laying off more than 300 workers starting next month and closing a South Carolina fulfillment center.The Jonesville, S.C., fulfillment center at 3805 Furman L. Fendley Highway will close “in the near future,” according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter sent Feb. 28 to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.The layoff of 310 workers is expected to run from April 30 through May 28, Tim May, general vice president of supply chain operat...

Charlotte-based Belk department store is laying off more than 300 workers starting next month and closing a South Carolina fulfillment center.

The Jonesville, S.C., fulfillment center at 3805 Furman L. Fendley Highway will close “in the near future,” according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter sent Feb. 28 to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

The layoff of 310 workers is expected to run from April 30 through May 28, Tim May, general vice president of supply chain operations said in a WARN report filed March 9.

“All positions and jobs at this location will be eliminated,” May said in the letter.

Some employees may be offered employment at other Belk locations. “However, we do not know at this time which employees, if any, will be given this option,” May said in the letter.

While other stores including Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon are adding fulfillment centers in the Charlotte region to meet distribution demands, Belk is cutting back.

The decision to close the Jonesville center meets the needs of the company’s supply chain network after review of internal processes, Belk spokeswoman Jessica Rohlik told the Observer on Thursday.

“We know the closure will affect associates at the Jonesville fulfillment center, and we are committed to working with them in the coming weeks to provide resources during the transition,” Rohlik said.

The Union County center filled thousands of online orders each day, according to a 7News report.

Two years ago, Belk said it would invest $2.5 million to upgrade its Blythewood, S.C., distribution center over the next five years, The State newspaper in Columbia reported. The facility employs up to 103 people.

It’s been just over a year since Belk, owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 23, 2021. It had a plan to restructure and eliminate $450 million of debt.

Belk emerged from bankruptcy protection a day later. At that time the company said it did not intend to close stores or layoff any employees.

Last summer, Belk promoted Nir Patel from president and chief of merchandising officer to CEO, replacing Lisa Harper. Patel’s background included e-commerce and marketing for Belk for five years.

In July, Belk said it would sublease its corporate office on Tyvola Road where about 1,200 employees work.

Last month, retail experts told the Observer the iconic, Charlotte-based department store hasn’t been doing enough since emerging from bankruptcy.

The 134-year-old company has nearly 300 store in 16 southern states. Belk has about 17,000 full- and part-time workers at its stores and distribution centers.

This story was originally published March 11, 2022, 10:00 AM.

Hilton Head residents unite against Jonesville development, town working on a district plan

In recent months, residents along Jonesville Road have watched parts of their neighborhood — nestled between marshlands and trees laden with Spanish Moss, living symbols of Hilton Head’s unique environment — transform dramatically.Construction is underway to introduce Bailey’s Cove, a new housing development of 147 units on 29 acres, to the area. The once thickly forested lot has since been cleared, and the town is reviewing two other potential developments now. If both are approved, 96 more homes will be built...

In recent months, residents along Jonesville Road have watched parts of their neighborhood — nestled between marshlands and trees laden with Spanish Moss, living symbols of Hilton Head’s unique environment — transform dramatically.

Construction is underway to introduce Bailey’s Cove, a new housing development of 147 units on 29 acres, to the area. The once thickly forested lot has since been cleared, and the town is reviewing two other potential developments now. If both are approved, 96 more homes will be built.

Last fall, Driftwood Stables owner Sondra Makowski learned she would have to relocate after her landlord sold the plot that her business sits on to develop one of the neighborhoods.

Area residents are concerned the rapid expansion could harm the area’s natural beauty and damage the identity of the historic Jonesville neighborhood. They recently formed the Jonesville Preservation Society, and at the Jan. 3 Hilton Head Town Council workshop, society president Daniel Anthony urged the town to consider a moratorium on development in the area until the town can strengthen its land management guidelines.

“Jonesville Road is a very unique area on the island. It has the historic district, it has a lot historic knowledge, and they’re going to destroy it,” Anthony said.

Anthony is reaching out to residents beyond the Jonesville area to establish a broader coalition of citizens to slow development on the island, he said, including residents near Folly Field Road who are once again voicing opposition to the planned construction of a timeshare resort.

Beyond natural and aesthetic worries, residents say the road simply can’t support the amount of new drivers that 243 units could introduce. Jonesville already experiences severe congestion during mornings and after work hours, Anthony said, and he’s skeptical emergency services could access the area promptly during peak traffic hours.

Anthony’s moratorium request was echoed by other speakers, and received support from Ward 4 Councilwoman Tamara Becker.

“We are getting their attention. We just need to get enough of their attention to force them to do this moratorium,” Anthony said, “and prove to them, ‘Hey, I know you guys have reservations about this and we’re not against you. We’re working for Hilton Head.’”

Ward 3 Councilman David Ames also recognized weaknesses in the town’s land management ordinance that have allowed developments out of line with what islanders expect Hilton Head to be, he said.

“The attempt to rewrite the LMO has its basis in understanding and appreciation of what Charles Frazier was trying to preserve,” Ames said. “Unfortunately, certain developers have come into this community and used their practices from other communities to develop here on Hilton Head, and those two are in direct conflict of one another.”

At the workshop, Anthony said he doesn’t oppose all development but hopes the town will step in to create codes that encourage “orderly” growth.

At the same meeting, Assistant Town Manager Shawn Colin announced the town is beginning work this month on a Jonesville District plan to assess the area’s zoning code, existing infrastructure and more to “establish expectations” for future development. That plan, which Colin likened to the recently completed Mid-Island Initiative, could take six to nine months.

“In six to nine months, an awful lot can happen in terms of submission of development plans, and once that happens we have issues that we can’t resolve,” Becker said. “I’m asking — as has been suggested by folks here — we find out how we can, if possible, institute some sort of moratorium.”

The Island Packet reached out to Colin and Becker for further comment for this article but received no immediate response.

Anthony and the Jonesville Preservation Society have been promised a one-hour meeting with town officials soon, he said, the date still undetermined.

According to the Municipal Association of South Carolina, towns may impose a moratorium on development through ordinance, with six months considered a reasonable best-practice length. In the South Carolina Court of Appeals case Simpkins v. City of Gaffney, standards were established that a town should then actively research desired changes to land codes during the moratorium’s duration — consistent with Hilton Head’s plan to revise the Jonesville district.

“(A development moratorium) it is not the monster, the dinosaur, the evil thing that the town makes it out to be. This does not kill Hilton [Head], it protects Hilton Head,” Anthony said.

This story was originally published January 9, 2023, 6:00 AM.

Family who grew up picking cotton buys 'mansion' across street

JONESVILLE, S.C. — Dorothy Ngongang grew up as a sharecropper, picking cotton in South Carolina in the 1950s and '60s.Her family of 12 lived in a two-bedroom hut where they slept on flour sacks stuffed with grass. Each child owned one pair of clothes at a time."We had a typical-looking sharecropping hut with brown wood and broken windows," said Ngongang, who is now 72 and lives in Charlotte. "You had to make sure you had cats to be sure you kept the snakes down."Across the street ...

JONESVILLE, S.C. — Dorothy Ngongang grew up as a sharecropper, picking cotton in South Carolina in the 1950s and '60s.

Her family of 12 lived in a two-bedroom hut where they slept on flour sacks stuffed with grass. Each child owned one pair of clothes at a time.

"We had a typical-looking sharecropping hut with brown wood and broken windows," said Ngongang, who is now 72 and lives in Charlotte. "You had to make sure you had cats to be sure you kept the snakes down."

Across the street stood a large white house with a wraparound porch that Ngongang and her siblings, then known as the Giles family, often admired as they worked in the fields.

"It was a mansion to us," Ngongang said of the house. "We thought it was beautiful."

The Giles, who are African-American, would peer over at the house from their modest home in Jonesville, a town with an area of 1 square mile in Union County, South Carolina.

The house didn't belong to the landowners the Giles family worked for. A well-off white family, the Wheelers, lived in the home and their daughters were playmates of the Giles kids. They'd all play out in the fields together, or sometimes under the porch. The home the Wheelers lived in not only represented the financial stability that the Giles' longed for, it was a bright spot in an otherwise arduous existence.

"They were kind even then when there were white people who were not kind," said Ngongang, who recalled long summer days playing with the Wheeler daughters. "There were some cruel things, but they were never that type of family. They treated us as next-door neighbors and friends."

Back then, Ngongang didn't dream her siblings and their children would pull themselves out of poverty. She could not know they would fan out across the country to earn professional degrees, or that her own daughter would become a medical doctor. She never imagined as a child that she and her siblings would one day pool their money and own that big white house that was across the street.

'An encourager'

Sharecropping is an arrangement in which property owners allow tenants to farm a piece of land in exchange for a share of the crop. In many cases, as with the Giles family, the tenants worked extraordinarily hard for very little, and if the crops failed in a particular year, they got even less. Sharecropping was widespread in the South during Reconstruction, after the Civil War. It was a way for landowners to still command labor, often by African-Americans, to keep their farms profitable. It faded in most places by the 1940s.

But not everywhere.

When the 10 Giles kids were young, they picked an enormous amount of cotton — the equivalent of about 20,000 pounds of cotton a year. For that, the family earned a total of about $100 to $300 annually plus minimal food, they said. They ate what Ngongang called a "slave diet" — molasses or gravy, fatback and a type of corn bread. Butter and milk were considered delicacies.

When Ngongang was a girl, she loved attending school, but was frustrated that she and her siblings had to miss months at a time because her father, an incessant worker, required them to hoe, chop or pick cotton.

"We did all of the work, and the landowner kept the books and settled up with us using his math," Ngongang said. "We were just human capital."

When they were able to go to school, the Giles children walked 3 miles to a segregated, two-room schoolhouse while nearby white children took buses to and from school. Some white children would throw sand out of the bus at the Giles children to humiliate them. But having a strong mother kept them focused on what was important.

Her father, a sharecropper since he was 5 years old, was illiterate. So was her mother. But her mother was determined none of her children would be.

"Our mother was an encourager, she encouraged us to learn or 'get something in our heads that no one could take from us,' " Ngongang said.

It worked. The children, eight girls and two boys, studied extra hard to keep up with what was taught when they missed school.

"I felt I wasn't going to be there picking cotton my whole life," Ngongang said. "I thought, 'No, I can't do this. Not with the pain of living the way we lived.' "

A teacher's life

After high school, Ngongang dedicated herself to earning her degrees and pulling herself out of poverty.

She graduated second in her class at Sims High School in 1965, and then attended a satellite campus of the University of South Carolina. She lived at home, and a professor helped her get a scholarship for the tuition. She eventually transferred to what was then called Mars Hill College, a university near Asheville, North Carolina. She worked in the cafeteria to pay for books and also earned money picking peaches, cleaning houses and babysitting in the summers. She was one of the first black students on campus, and she was forced to sleep in the infirmary at first because the school refused to match her with a white roommate.

In the cafeteria, she ate her meals alone for months, until slowly the white students would start to sit near her.

She was as smart as she was dedicated, and ended up earning the highest marks at the college. She graduated from Mars Hill in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in biology.

"I didn't realize how isolated we were until I moved away," she said.

She then went on to get her master's degree in teaching from Indiana University in 1972. After, she settled in North Carolina and got a job at a high school in Charlotte teaching biology, environmental science and anatomy. She also taught Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate biology, and retired in 2010 after a teaching career that spanned more than three decades.

Her brothers and sisters were successful, as well. Of the 10 children, seven graduated from college and three went on to earn master's degrees. Three were successful in manufacturing.

Ngongang met a man from Cameroon and they married in 1980, and later had two children. They divorced after 13 years of marriage, but remained friends. He passed away in 2007.

Daring to dream

In 2015, Ngongang, who was staying busy with family and tutoring children, got a curious call. It was from her old playmate Peggy Wheeler McKinney, who grew up in the white house with the wraparound porch. She said the house was for sale. She wondered whether Ngongang wanted to buy it.

"I was redoing it and I ran into all kinds of financial and physical problems, and I knew I wasn't able to redo it," said McKinney, 65, who has memories of playing with the Giles children. "I called them and asked them if they'd be interested in buying it. To me, it was like keeping it in the family."

Wheeler's sister, Joan Wheeler Little, said the Wheeler and Giles kids "have always had a good bond. Any time you needed anything, you could ask them."

The house had been vacant for 10 years and it needed a lot of work. But if Ngongang and her family wanted it, McKinney said she'd sell it to them for a decent price.

It hadn't occurred to Ngongang before, but all of a sudden it made perfect sense. Several of her siblings and their children were still in the area, and it would be nice to have a home base when they visited South Carolina. It could be a place where they could gather for Christmas.

And her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all buried nearby.

Not lost on her was how remarkable it was that they could actually do it. Looking back on where she'd come from, it was an achievement she'd never even dare to dream of when she was a child.

"I never visualized owning that house," Ngongang said. "Nobody in the family, they never visualized sitting on the porch and rocking."

Ngongang called her sister and brother who she thought might be interested. They were. They bought the house in April 2015 for $45,000 and started fixing it up. They had to essentially gut the house and remake the interior.

They had fixed it up enough to host a gathering at the end of 2017, on Christmas, with 30 members of the family, many of whom looked in wonder at what they did to the place. It still needs work, including some fixes on the roof, but it's close to being where they want it.

"They restored it and made it look like it used to; they've done a wonderful job on it," said Wheeler Little, whose great uncle built the house. "I would have rather seen them have it than anybody."

Ngongang's son, Decker Ngongang, 36, said he has watched the home take shape and is in awe of the project his mother and aunts and uncles have undertaken.

"They are on the land where they used to pick cotton," Decker said. "I recognize the significance of that; they recognize the significance of that."

Ngongang said she realizes it might seem strange that she and her family would want to return to the place where they suffered so much.

"Do we have bad memories? Of course we have bad memories," she said. "You can't get a rose without thorns."

But her voice broke with emotion as she talked about her brother's joy at returning to the property where the family so carefully and diligently tended to the fields. She said buying the house has been "therapeutic" for the whole family.

"My brother looked across the fields and said, 'I have to contain myself, I have to smile to keep from crying,' " she said.

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Hilton Head to purchase land along Jonesville Road, a victory for anti-growth advocates

The Town of Hilton Head announced plans to purchase three land parcels along Jonesville Road — a longtime site of tension between developers eyeing empty land on the island and residents fighting to preserve the hub of a historic Gullah community.Comprising 12.019 acres and valued at $7.6 million, the property sits just north of Jonesville Road, situated between Graham Lane and Paddocks Boulevard. The land was previously b...

The Town of Hilton Head announced plans to purchase three land parcels along Jonesville Road — a longtime site of tension between developers eyeing empty land on the island and residents fighting to preserve the hub of a historic Gullah community.

Comprising 12.019 acres and valued at $7.6 million, the property sits just north of Jonesville Road, situated between Graham Lane and Paddocks Boulevard. The land was previously being considered for a housing complex of nearly 100 single-family units, part of a string of newly proposed developments that residents claimed would triple the population of the already crowded neighborhood.

“This council is committed to managing growth,” Mayor Alan Perry said in a press release. “When we learned of the opportunity to purchase this property, we took decisive action to remove it from the threat of immediate development.”

Although the town hasn’t specified its plans for the property, the planned acquisition marks a victory for the Jonesville Preservation Society, a young but fast-growing group of Jonesville residents and other islanders fighting to protect the historic neighborhood against excessive growth and preserve green space.

“I’m glad that they heard us,” society president Daniel Anthony told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette.

Anthony believes the town’s decision is a direct consequence of the community’s grassroots movement, whose support and influence has quickly spread beyond the Jonesville neighborhood. The group’s survey on overdevelopment, launched in mid-January, garnered 1,303 responses in only nine days, with 91.3% of responses indicating support for a sixth-month moratorium on development across the island.

The survey’s results were presented to the Town Council at the Jan. 26 Public Planning Committee meeting. Five days later, council members voted unanimously to enter a contract to acquire the land.

The 12-acre parcel was formerly home to Driftwood Stable, a well-known equine experience that was forced to relocate after the land was rezoned for residential use in September. The business’ Facebook page has teased the opening of a new location, but the owners did not immediately reply when asked whether they would return to the original location following the town’s acquisition.

Despite last Tuesday’s clear victory for the Jonesville Preservation Society, the neighborhood’s stand against growth is far from over. Construction is already underway for the nearby Bailey’s Cove, a 147-unit housing development whose 29-acre lot dwarfs the town’s recent 12-acre acquisition.

Formerly the home of thick forests and the island’s signature marshlands, the flattened construction site is a constant visual reminder of the long road ahead for Jonesville Road.

Although residents are appreciative of the town’s recent decisions, Anthony says the Jonesville Preservation Society will continue advocating for long-term solutions, including the establishment of an islandwide development moratorium and an updated Land Management Ordinance that limits the density of housing projects.

On a larger scale, town officials have also begun making plans to manage growth in the Jonesville neighborhood. In a Jan. 3 Town Council workshop, Assistant Town Manager Shawn Colin announced the creation of a Jonesville District plan to assess the area’s zoning code, existing infrastructure and more to “establish expectations” for future development.

Disney closing Jonesville distribution operation

Move to Memphis will cost Union 150 jobsThe Disney magic is over in Union County.Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday that it will close its 500,000-square-foot distribution center off Highway 176 near Jonesville.The company said it will consolidate the center, which employs about 150 people, into another Disney distribution center in Memphis, Tenn. Some employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to the Memphis facility, which will serve Disney stores and Disneystores.com."These deci...

Move to Memphis will cost Union 150 jobs

The Disney magic is over in Union County.

Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday that it will close its 500,000-square-foot distribution center off Highway 176 near Jonesville.

The company said it will consolidate the center, which employs about 150 people, into another Disney distribution center in Memphis, Tenn. Some employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to the Memphis facility, which will serve Disney stores and Disneystores.com.

"These decisions are never easy, and Disney will work with the employees of the Jonesville facility over the next year to make this transition as seamless as possible," Edward Kummer, senior vice president of global e-commerce for Disney Consumer Products, said in a statement. "Disney.com has been a proud employer to members of the Jonesville community since 1997, and we thank the employees for their years of service."

Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the company will phase out the facility in stages starting in July, with the goal of closing by July 2011.

The loss of that many jobs is an additional economic blow to a county with one of the highest rates of unemployment in South Carolina. Union County's jobless rate in March was 19.2 percent, according to the S.C. Employment Security Commission. It was the first month since May that unemployment in Union dropped below 20 percent.

Sinclair said he feared the rate will jump back above that mark as a result of the announcement.

In addition to the loss of jobs, Sinclair said the county will lose $315,000 to $320,000 in tax revenue with Disney's departure.

Rep. Mike Anthony, D-Union, said the center was also a reliable source for part-time work when its seasonal business would pick up.

"We've been chipping away at unemployment, but this could potentially be devastating to those efforts," Anthony said.

Disney Co. opened the state-of-the-art center in 1999, replacing two centers in Memphis. County leaders granted the company a 6 percent, 20-year fee-in-lieu-of agreement, meaning that instead of paying the 10.5 percent tax most companies are assessed, Disney paid 6 percent.

Sinclair and Anthony said the county is working with the S.C. Department of Commerce to market the facility to prospective companies.

"We've done some initial planning, but will be working hard on that," Sinclair said. "It's one of the premier facilities in the state. It can support another distribution operation or be up-fitted to support manufacturing."

Andrena Powell-Baker, director of the Union County Economic Development Board, said the county will pool its resources together with the S.C. Employment Security Commission to "soften the impact" of Disney's announcement.

"We've pulled together a great team," she said. "We have seen an uptick in activity. Although we're losing a big name, our biggest concern is getting people back to work."

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