Estate Planning Attorney inSummerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville 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 Summerville. 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference
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What Our Clients Say

What is Estate Planning in
Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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 Summerville, 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.

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Latest News in Summerville, SC

‘We’re going to break our own record,’ Trump tells SC voters

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Former President Donald Trump took the stage at a campaign event in Summerville Monday predicting a record-breaking win in the South Carolina Primary as he campaigned for a second term as commander-in-chief.Trump is speaking Monday afternoon at Sportsman Boats in his first visit to South Carolina since the Silver Elephant Gala last month.He told the crowd that his last two years in office were the best two years South Carolina boat builders and South Carolina businesses have ever had, saying that boat...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Former President Donald Trump took the stage at a campaign event in Summerville Monday predicting a record-breaking win in the South Carolina Primary as he campaigned for a second term as commander-in-chief.

Trump is speaking Monday afternoon at Sportsman Boats in his first visit to South Carolina since the Silver Elephant Gala last month.

He told the crowd that his last two years in office were the best two years South Carolina boat builders and South Carolina businesses have ever had, saying that boat builders couldn’t make the boats fast enough.

“When I left the office business was roaring like a 400 horsepower Mercury outboard motor,” Trump said. “But then the economy slammed into a pile of rocks known as crooked Joe Biden.”

He promised to end Biden’s “war on American energy” and reclaim energy independence.

“In other words, we will drill, baby, drill,” he said.

Trump said he won South Carolina twice by record numbers and pledged to do it again.

“We did phenomenally here. We’ve always done well here and we’re going to do it at a level that nobody’s ever seen,” he said. “So we broke the record twice. We’re going to break it a third time. We’re going to break our own record.”

He said he intends to “take back our country and we’re going to make America great again.”

Before Trump’s speech, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told the crowd he went into the State House about a month after Trump went into the White House.

“And South Carolina has been booming ever since,” he said. “But then in January 2021, everything changed.”

McMaster said his administration has had to fight the Biden Administration “every day.” He cited the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for military personnel, and accused it of destroying the nation’s borders and the nation’s energy independence.

“From 2016 until now, [the Biden Administration] has been doing anything and everything they could, legal, illegal, ethical, unethical, unheard of, unprecedented, to do one thing: That includes two bogus impeachments and full-of-baloney indictments to do what? To stop one man, to stop our man from being president of the United States,” McMaster said.

Dorchester County deputies said earlier on Monday that Trump’s visit to Summerville would cause delays on Highway 78 from Summerville east of Berlin G. Myers Parkway to Jedburg Road at Mallard Road. Drivers in the area are asked to search for alternate routes if they don’t live or work along Highway 78 and are encouraged to use other entrances to neighborhoods in the area.

Traffic delays are expected to last through about 5 p.m. Monday but the delays could be extended.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Bugs, blood & beatings: Docs reveal claims against Summerville youth facility

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly obtained documents show dozens of complaints have been filed in recent years against a Summerville youth treatment facility, alleging there are bugs, abuse, dangerously low staffing levels, violent fights and blood and vomit smeared throughout the building.Mary Wilcox’s grandson spent time in that facility, Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health, earlier this year.“Terror” is how she describes her feelings about the residential facility, which is for children and teens ages 7-1...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly obtained documents show dozens of complaints have been filed in recent years against a Summerville youth treatment facility, alleging there are bugs, abuse, dangerously low staffing levels, violent fights and blood and vomit smeared throughout the building.

Mary Wilcox’s grandson spent time in that facility, Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health, earlier this year.

“Terror” is how she describes her feelings about the residential facility, which is for children and teens ages 7-18 with emotional and behavioral issues.

Her 13-year-old grandson was admitted to the youth residential treatment facility earlier this year.

For weeks, he stayed locked behind the doors of the facility; for weeks he recounted the horror and violence to his grandmother; and for weeks, Wilcox said she fought to get him out.

“[He] was abused in ways that most parents would say would be the worst thing to happen to their child,” Wilcox says.

During phone calls with his grandmother and an in-person visit, he detailed vicious fights, sexual assaults and abuse.

“He was struggling to deal with what was going on, and he attempted to escape,” Wilcox said. “He was handled by a staff member who slammed his head into a chain link fence causing a gash, causing blood to drop down his face.”

Her grandson’s story is not the first troubling one that has been shared. Nearly 200 pages of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request for complaints against the facility in the past few years detail allegations of what some say erupts in the hallways and common areas and what hides, tucked away in patients’ rooms.

The dozens of complaints filed describe alleged bug infestations, inadequate staffing, filthy conditions, overmedicating and a prison-like environment.

One complaint says a staff member attacked a patient.

“On the video, it was observed that a staff member placing [redacted] into a choke hold and then it is observed on camera that same staff member punching [redacted] six times once [redacted] is taken down to the ground,” the complaint states.

Another states a patient was so heavily medicated they fainted. In a different complaint, an employee is accused of grabbing a patient by the shirt, pulling them down and kneeing them in the face.

“It does not surprise me at all,” Wilcox says. “My grandson communicated similar conditions to me. It is very alarming that this happened to my grandson; it’s alarming that children are in the facility still.”

One complaint alleges the facility frequently only has one nurse on duty with 60 patients and was so short-staffed they couldn’t provide proper treatment.

Another states there have been “numerous human rights violations” and claims patients are refused medical treatment and prescriptions.

“Supervisors explicitly tell staff to ‘treat them like prisoners because they are here for punishment’ rather than treating the patients with compassion as they go through treatment,” the complaint states.

Another complaint describes cockroaches and ants crawling around and blood and vomit smeared inside.

“[Palmetto Summerville] should be investigated,” Wilcox says. “They need to be checked out. They need to be monitored, and they need to be held accountable.”

The State Department of Health and Environmental Control is the agency responsible for investigating complaints against health facilities like Palmetto Summerville. It can also penalize them.

“When there is noncompliance with the licensing standards, the facility must submit an acceptable written plan of correction to DHEC that must be signed by the administrator and returned by the date specified on the report of inspection/investigation,” an email from DHEC states. “When DHEC determines that a facility is in violation of any statutory provision, rule, or regulation relating to the operation or maintenance of such facility, DHEC, upon proper notice to the licensee, may impose a monetary penalty, and deny, suspend, or revoke licenses.”

Last month, DHEC investigated two complaints against Palmetto Summerville, but no violations were cited, according to officials. In August, however, the facility was fined $19,000 for nine violations.

“DHEC executed a consent order with the facility in August after it was determined that it was appropriate to impose a civil monetary penalty for violations of Regulation 61-103,” the email from DHEC states.

Some of those violations, documents show, include failing to have a registered nurse immediately accessible by phone and available within 30 minutes, failing to notify DHEC of a serious accident or incident within 24 hours, failing to make sure residents were free from harm and failing to make sure medications were available for administration.

“[Patients] are further traumatized,” Wilcox says. “They are further placed into a downward spiral by being in these facilities.”

That downward spiral and that trauma, she says, prevent any effective treatment for the children who spend time at Palmetto Summerville and similar facilities.

Some studies show that could be right.

One study shows there’s not enough research to know if the interventions — therapy, activities and treatments — inside these facilities are effective or an effective use of money.

“We also don’t know a lot about what the, what treatments they’re actually getting because we don’t necessarily see the day-to-day life of these kids in these facilities,” Roderick Rose, an associate professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore and researcher in the study, says.

A common trend in the facilities: Medication. One study shows about 90 percent of stays at facilities analyzed included an antipsychotic medication, even though only 3 percent of patients were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.

“You also see just a lot of medicating children,” Rose says.

For her grandson, Wilcox believes the best treatment has been being back home. He’s in school and playing basketball and is doing better. The trauma from the facility still lingers, however, and Wilcox says she prays other children can get the help they need outside of the gates of Palmetto Summerville.

“I am so very grateful that he is one child that escaped being in the situation he was in long,” she says. “Other children, as well, to be rescued, which is a most appropriate word. They need to be rescued from these facilities.”

Norman Bradley, the director of risk management and performance improvement for Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health released this statement:

Due to HIPAA patient privacy laws, we cannot offer comment on specific patients or their care.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health takes all allegations of abuse seriously and completes full investigations as warranted. Any and all allegations required to be reported to the Department of Health and Environmental Control have been done, and necessary action plans have been implemented to address the issues raised. Recent site visits by DHEC have been positive and have resulted in no findings.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health is a residential treatment facility for girls and boys ages 7 to 18, in need of a highly structured, therapeutic environment. Our patient satisfaction scores reflect the care that is delivered by our compassionate and dedicated team.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Residents sound alarm about apartment complex condition issues in Summerville

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Former and current residents at a Summerville apartment complex are sharing their stories, alleging bad communication from management and deteriorating conditions, after seeing one woman come forward about a mold problem.In March, Breanna McCalla detailed a mold problem that she says forced her to move her family out of the Latitude at Wescott.Madison Harris...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Former and current residents at a Summerville apartment complex are sharing their stories, alleging bad communication from management and deteriorating conditions, after seeing one woman come forward about a mold problem.

In March, Breanna McCalla detailed a mold problem that she says forced her to move her family out of the Latitude at Wescott.

Madison Harriss says she experienced something similar when she spotted mold in her unit.

“When I first saw it, I started off by sending emails to the front office just letting them know about it. I also made a couple of trips into the office to talk to someone as well,” Harris says.

Harris feels she did everything right when she first saw mold nearly a year after she moved in. She says it took months of emailing and visiting the office to get someone in her unit to check out the issue.

“And it was frustrating because all they did was paint over it with some KILZ and called it a day. So it didn’t feel like it was resolved because it came back shortly after,” Harris says.

Harris says the mold and mildew-resistant paint job was too little too late, and when her lease was up in 2021, she left but took her story with her and shared her experience with anyone asking about living in the area.

While current resident Casey Hendricks says she hasn’t seen mold, her communication problems started before she even got on the property.

“Within three days of our move-in date, they told me that we could no longer have the three-bedroom apartment on the first floor they instead were moving us to a two-bedroom apartment temporarily on the third floor, which made it really difficult with two little kids and a dog,” Hendricks says.

Despite paying her deposit and hiring movers, Hendricks’ family was in a space too small. When they were finally allowed to relocate to a 3-bedroom months later, further communication issues cost her hundreds of dollars. Her moving company spent hours sitting in the parking lot on the day of the switch, waiting for management to allow them into the unit. When the company ran out of time that day, Hendricks had to pay movers to come back.

Once inside, Hendricks says the conditions were concerning. She pointed out water stains and missing vanity draws and knobs.

“The vanity that was never fixed. It was like this when we moved in. I did do a walk-through with the property manager and she is aware of this as of last November and when I moved in and it still has not been repaired,” Hendricks says.

Now Hendricks is facing mounting water and sewer bills, more than quadruple what she budgeted as average cost, and she wants answers. But with no repairs to her apartment yet, she doesn’t think she’ll ever get the help she’s asking for.

“So many other apartments are filled with mold. It definitely makes you wonder what might be out there in your air ducts and stuff that you’re not seeing,” Hendricks says.

Harris says while she lived there, she faced other maintenance issues besides mold like Hendricks.

“It just felt like they really didn’t care to fix the problem,” Harris says.

Latitude at Wescott management declined to comment when asked to answer questions for this story.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Halter to run for town council

A second candidate has announced his intent to seek the seat representing District 3 on Summerville Town Council.Matt Halter, a local business owner and engineer, said he decided to run for office because he believes his resume qualifies him to tackle many of Summerville’s current problems.“I also believe your representative should be elected by you, not appointed by a select few elitists and those currently in power,” he said. “It’s time we had more than just figureheads in our local government &n...

A second candidate has announced his intent to seek the seat representing District 3 on Summerville Town Council.

Matt Halter, a local business owner and engineer, said he decided to run for office because he believes his resume qualifies him to tackle many of Summerville’s current problems.

“I also believe your representative should be elected by you, not appointed by a select few elitists and those currently in power,” he said. “It’s time we had more than just figureheads in our local government – we need rock-solid leaders fighting for the best interests of our town and its taxpayers.”

Halter said that, over time, Summerville’s leadership “has bloated our government to the point of dysfunction” and has “recklessly allowed developers to overrun our town, bringing with them unmanageable traffic and a maze of red tape.”

“This is not leadership; it is a failure to serve the public interest,” he said. “While I support change and growth, the growth Summerville’s leaders approve needs to be in the best interest of our town. Some development can actually add to the value of our town, while apartment home communities, for example, add major traffic concerns, overrun our schools and produce housing that is not affordable, driving up the cost of rent and home ownership.”

A resume provided to the Journal Scene by Halter shows experience in government, the private sector and as a small business owner.

“I’m not an elitist in a line of politicians – I’m a regular citizen,” he said. “It’s time to bring strength and common sense back to our council. It’s time your family’s needs outweigh the wants of a privileged few. This is not about politics as usual; it’s about restoring a government that works for its people and bridges that gap between government and its citizens so that the government is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people. We need a government that listens, acts and delivers. I’m rock-solid and here to ensure Summerville thrives for all its residents.”

Halter has been married to his wife, Donna, for 32 years. She is an elementary school teacher in Dorchester School District 2 and manages the books for their business, Benchmark LDS.

Their son, Matt Jr., is a civil engineer, and their daughter, Lauren, is a registered nurse. Matt and Donna have two grandchildren.

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Matt is a graduate of Stratford High School and The Citadel. He became a registered professional engineer, land surveyor and licensed general contractor. His career began in Charleston, where, as an engineer and stormwater superintendent, he led projects and managed a team of more than 80 employees.

Matt went to work for the town of Summerville in 1996 as the town engineer and public works director. During this time, he wrote the town’s first development standards and founded the South Carolina Association of Stormwater Managers.

Matt ventured into the private sector in 2004, applying his engineering, land surveying and project management experience as the owner and president of Benchmark LDS.

“One of my more notable contributions was the design and construction of the Summerville Miracle League field on South Laurel Street,” he said. “This project wasn’t just about building a field; it was about creating a space where everyone in the community, regardless of their abilities, could come together and enjoy the spirit of the game.”

As one of the founding board members and president of the Summerville Miracle League, Matt, along with a team of citizens, raised more than $500,000 for the field, which was a joint venture between the town and private entities, which he said showcases his ability to “lead, collaborate and deliver.”

He has served on the Dorchester County Transportation Authority and was a multiple-term member of the town’s Commercial Design Review Board.

“In every role, I have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the betterment of Summerville,” he said. “My actions and achievements speak volumes about my dedication, making me not just a candidate for the town council but a true steward of the community’s well-being and future.”

Summerville family leaves apartment over mold, health concerns

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A Summerville family says they moved out of their rented apartment at the recommendation of a doctor after months of seeing mold across the unit.Breanna McCalla says her family moved to Summerville in the fall, but when they signed their lease at the Latitude at Wescott, they had no idea they would be moving again in less than six months.“I think, a week after moving in that we noticed the first amount of mold up on the vents, which was the first thing that we noticed,” McCalla says....

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A Summerville family says they moved out of their rented apartment at the recommendation of a doctor after months of seeing mold across the unit.

Breanna McCalla says her family moved to Summerville in the fall, but when they signed their lease at the Latitude at Wescott, they had no idea they would be moving again in less than six months.

“I think, a week after moving in that we noticed the first amount of mold up on the vents, which was the first thing that we noticed,” McCalla says.

She provided a screenshot of an email sent in October, alerting property managers about the mold, and asking that it be checked out and addressed. But McCalla says not only did nothing seem to get fixed, it instead got worse.

“I also have also lost multiple sentimental things that I can’t get back. I had a bag full of all my kids’ baby blankets that was covered in mold. You know, like baby items and clothing and things that you can’t replace,” McCalla says.

Staff at the Latitude at Wescott did not comment on the situation despite three attempts to ask if they were aware of the issue and, if so, whether any effort was made to address it.

Mary Templeton, a fellow in an Equal Justice Housing Works Program, specializes in renter cases at Charleston Pro Bono. She says tenants do have rights under South Carolina law.

“A lot of people don’t know their rights because South Carolina landlord-tenant law is not necessarily intuitive,” Templeton says. “So a big thing that I think that all tenants should know in South Carolina is just to make sure to document any issues you’re having. The more evidence you have of a problem, the easier it is to get it resolved, even if it does require court action.”

Parts of the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act say landlords must “comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety” and “make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.”

“I was constantly stressed about it with the kids, mainly with the mold. I mean, the other things we cleaned, and you know, it’s fine, but the mold, I know how serious mold is,” McCalla says.

She provided emails with management through December and January documenting continued mold appearances on vents and windows. She says the last straw for their family was when her daughter developed a persistent cough and her other two children also seemed to struggle with breathing.

“We’re doing doctors and taking antibiotics. She wasn’t testing for anything and we were starting to put the pieces together,” McCalla says.

On Feb. 10 at a follow-up doctor appointment, the provider made a note on McCalla’s daughter’s visit notes. It states, “Seek care at COEM (Center for Occupation & Environmental Medicine) for mold exposure along with treatment for cough symptoms.”

“The first thing she said was immediately you need to get out the only way you’re going to start feeling better and you know healing from this is removing yourself from the mold,” McCalla says.

Templeton says Charleston Pro Bono gets at least weekly if not daily requests for help with tenant issues. She says there are specific timelines for when certain types of issues should be fixed, and a professional can walk someone through their rights if they have the documentation.

“The more evidence you have of a problem, the easier it is to get it resolved, even if it does require court action,” Templeton says. “You always have to put a repair request for those things in writing. Landlords don’t have a duty to fix things unless they’ve received a written notice about the repairs that need to be made.”

While they are not in the habit of taking on mold cases because of the cost, she says documenting everything does a lot if you want to build a case to break your lease. Templeton says a mold case can be hard to prove but not impossible if people have the proof.

“With mold cases, if someone is looking into some sort of damages where you know, they think they’ve been injured because of the mold, their children are sick things of that nature…It’s very hard for legal aid providers to take on those cases just because we don’t have the sort of capital needed to kind of front the bill for those sorts of lawsuits,” Templeton says. “Typically, in those sorts of lawsuits. It’s my understanding that expert witnesses are needed, you know, who have to be paid. You get the property tested by maybe environmental organizations, things like that to see what the risk level is.”

McCalla, when breaking her lease, checked a box claiming to break through “no fault” not wanting to pay because of the mold maintenance issues. She says they have been in touch with a potential lawyer and are planning to get the family tested for mold levels at COEM.

“I know that I did as much as I could have I also wish I would have done more like I wish I would have been like in their face telling them like this is not okay,” McCalla says.

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