Probate Lawyer in Columbia, SC

About The CDH Law Firm Difference

As seasoned probate lawyers in South Carolina, we understand that Estate Administration often involves sensitive family dynamics as much as it does the legal minutia involved in probate law. After all, a person's estate not only affects their generation but the generations that follow.

But when your loved one passes, their assets must be managed and distributed correctly. When mismanaged, disputes often arise between parties like the Beneficiaries, Trustees, Heirs, or Executors of a Will. Even when everything is managed the right way, arguments and misunderstandings can still occur, and even evolve into bitter legal battles necessitating probate litigation.

It stands to reason, then, that you should hire a probate lawyer in Columbia, SC to help. But the truth is, many attorneys don't have vast experience with probate and trust work. If they do, they aren't usually seasoned trial attorneys. That's what separates probate attorneys at CHSA Law, LLC from others - we have the ability to help plan your Estate and litigate estate disputes if they arise.

We are keenly familiar with local probate judges, courtroom staff members, and the related procedures involved with South Carolina probate law. Our intimate knowledge and experience help us successfully navigate the probate process to complete our client's cases quickly and efficiently.

But that's just one aspect that sets CDH apart from other firms. Understanding the importance of personalized attention, we also make an intentional decision to limit our law firm's overall caseload. This allows us to better focus on individual clients, many of whom remain with us for generations. We do not pass off cases to paralegals or junior associates but rather prioritize the attorney-client relationship. We value compassion and integrity, and our practice reflects those values.

Moreover, trust is one of the most important aspects of the attorney-client relationship. We work to create an open, friendly environment in which you can feel comfortable. After years of experience, we boast the skill and experience necessary to earn that trust - and that's a priceless commodity when it comes to probate cases in South Carolina.

Understanding The Probate Process in South Carolina

When a loved one passes away, it's natural to go through a time of emotional adjustment. However, it's crucial for the family of the loved one to face the financial realities of their estate. That reality includes the probate process, which involves distributing assets and settling the estate. A probate attorney in Columbia, SC is often recommended to assist during this time. This process isn't just recommended - it's often a legal responsibility in South Carolina.

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Steps to the Probate Process in South Carolina

01

Delivery of Will Upon Death: During probate, the first step involves having a will delivered to an Estate Administrator or to the probate court. The deadline to accomplish this task is 30 days.

02

A Personal Representative is Assigned: This individual is often named in a Will and should be appointed officially by the court.

03

A Notice is Sent to Intestate Heirs: If these heirs feel that they should inherit, they have a right to challenge this step.

04

The Estate is Inventoried and Appraised: This process must occur within 90 days of opening an estate. In some estates with valuables like jewelry, art, and property, professional appraisers may be needed.

05

Settling Accounts: During this step, the estate must pay any applicable taxes, ongoing expenses, or outstanding debts. Should the estate not have enough money to pay these debts, creditors must be paid according to South Carolina code.

06

Distributions: If there is money in the estate after debts are paid, those funds are given to heirs of the estate, according to the Will or the State.

07

Discharge: As soon as any claims are paid, the personal representative of the estate will file documents to close the estate. To make this official, the court will issue a Certificate of Discharge.

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Avoiding Probate in South Carolina

Though most estates in South Carolina must go through probate, it is possible to avoid. This happens when a decedent's assets are placed in a Living Trust prior to their death. In this scenario, beneficiaries must be designated in order to inherit the estate. Suppose there are funds that have been promised to beneficiaries via life insurance policies or bank accounts with "payable upon death" designations. In that case, those funds do not have to go through probate.

Assets subject to probate in South Carolina include:

  • Interest in an LLC, Partnership, or Corporation
  • Real Estate Held as a Tenant in Common
  • Property Held in Only the Deceased's Name
 Probate Attorney Columbia, SC
Probate Lawyer Columbia, SC

Assets that are not subject to probate in South Carolina include:

  • Assets Placed in a Trust
  • Assets Which Are Already Tied to a Beneficiary
  • Pension Plan Assets
  • Insurance Policies with Beneficiaries
  • Beneficiaries of Retirement Funds
  • Real Estate or Property with Right of Survivorship
  • Real Estate or Property with Joint Tenancy
  • Accounts That Are Transferable or Payable Upon Death
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Avoiding Probate: Yes or No?

Though it's not always possible, some families go out of their way to avoid the probate process in South Carolina. Doing so can help save money in the long run and also expedite the distribution of funds to heirs. By avoiding probate, you're also keeping personal matters private.

Because every person has different estate and probate complexities, it's hard to say whether avoiding probate is good or bad. Whether or not you should avoid probate depends on your unique situation. As a general rule, it's always best to consult with a probate lawyer in Columbia, SC, for honest feedback and probate assistance.

Typically, having a Living Trust or a Will in place will make transferring assets easier. A little prep ahead of time will make a world of difference when your loved one passes away. After all, nobody is ever prepared for a relative or family friend's death, but a compassionate, trustworthy probate attorney can make the process easier.

FAQsSouth Carolina Probate FAQs

For many families, "Probate" is a dirty term that involves heartbreak and headaches. And while the probate process in South Carolina can be complex and stressful, having answers to some of the most common probate questions can help put your mind at ease.

Q.

My family member recently passed away, and we're considering their estate. How long will the probate process take?

A.

The time it takes an estate to go through probate in South Carolina varies depending on a number of questions, including:

  • Does the deceased have a valid will?
  • Is the Estate complex or large?
  • Is the Will contested?
  • Have any lawsuits been filed?
  • Is the personal representative of the estate efficient?

When conditions are good, a small or simple estate usually takes about a year to close. More complicated estates may take longer.


Q.

My loved one mentioned opening a Trust to protect my assets. What is a Trust, and what Trusts should I consider?

A.

As is the case with most probate decisions, opening a Trust should be based on your unique situation and guidance from your probate attorney in Columbia, SC. With that said, a Trust is meant to hold property for your loved one's benefit. When a Trust is created, assets are transferred into the said Trust and managed accordingly. Though there is a common misconception that Trusts are reserved for the wealthy, just about any family can benefit from opening a Trust.

The most common types of Trusts used in probate include:

  • Living Trust: These trusts are opened and controlled by you while you're still living. When you pass away, the assets in the trust are distributed to the beneficiaries you choose. Typically, these trusts do not go through the probate process.
  • Testamentary Trust: These trusts are usually established after you pass away and are included in your will. These trusts must go through the probate process in South Carolina, though they allow for the distribution of property within a certain time frame.
  • Special Needs Trust: This type of trust gives financial support to your loved one if they are disabled.

When conditions are good, a small or simple estate usually takes about a year to close. More complicated estates may take longer.


Q.

What happens when somebody dies without a will in South Carolina?

A.

When a person passes away without a Will in South Carolina, the state decides who gets their decedent's assets. This is also called passing intestate. When this happens, usually only spouses, blood relatives, or registered domestic partners can inherit property according to intestate succession laws.

Relatives who receive the probate property of the deceased are usually chosen in the following order:

  • Living Spouse
  • Children or Grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Brothers or Sisters
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and Aunts
  • Extended Family

If you're in need of a veteran probate lawyer in South Carolina, look no further than CDH Law Firm. With years of experience in Estate Administration and probate cases, our team is ready to serve you with excellence and protect your interests. Have additional questions? We're here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about Estate Administration in South Carolina.

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Law is complicate matter. It can cause you a big problem if you ignore it. Let us help you!

A Caring, Confident Approach to Probate in South Carolina

Planning your estate is the first step to take if you want to protect your family, your assets, your well-being, and the fruits of your hard work.

At CHSA Law, LLC, our team of experienced probate lawyers in Columbia, SC, can help you navigate the entire Estate Administration process. Through creative legal strategies and a clear understanding of your goals and desires, we work together to make your asset and estate visions a reality. It's never too early to get your estate in order. In fact, estate planning is important for everyone, whether you're single or married, young or old, with or without children. If you're ready to protect your assets and be prepared for probate, contact CHSA Law, LLC, today.

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phone-number 843-936-6680

Latest News in Columbia, SC

15 interesting facts about Columbia that may surprise you

If you know us, you know we’re here for the deep cuts — and there’s plenty of interesting factoids to go around. As connoisseurs of the quirky and unconventional, we put together a list of the Soda City’s history, oddest characteristics, and more. Maybe you’ve lived here your whole life and know some of this, or maybe you’ll learn something new.Either way, test your local knowledge with these 15 interesting facts.1. The South Caroliniana Library was the first college library in the nat...

If you know us, you know we’re here for the deep cuts — and there’s plenty of interesting factoids to go around. As connoisseurs of the quirky and unconventional, we put together a list of the Soda City’s history, oddest characteristics, and more. Maybe you’ve lived here your whole life and know some of this, or maybe you’ll learn something new.

Either way, test your local knowledge with these 15 interesting facts.

1. The South Caroliniana Library was the first college library in the nation built as a separate building in 1840. The freestanding library was constructed at the University of South Carolina, and you can read the full history of the library here.

2. Columbia has star power as numerous athletes, actors, and authors hail from the capital city. This includes 2020 Masters Tournament champion Dustin Johnson, R&B singer Angie Stone, and Kristin Davis, known for her role as Charlotte on “Sex and the City.”

3. Lake Murray was built in the 1920’s — and at the time — was the largest (50,000 acres) man-made lake in the country. The Saluda Dam (popularly known as the Lake Murray Dam) was also the largest earthen dam in the world when it was built.

4. Georgia O’Keeffe, a well-known modern artist of the 20th century, taught art at Columbia College in 1915. While there, she produced the charcoal sketches that found their way to Alfred Stieglitz – who took up promoting her art… and the rest is history.

5. 1,284. That’s how many toasters Kenneth Huggins has in the world’s largest collection which he stores in his home and a special-built storage house. Soda Citizens hold several world records in the Guinness Book of World Records, including the greatest distance catching a grape in the mouth.

6. Charles F. Bolden — former astronaut and 12th Administrator of NASAgraduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964. Charles spent four missions in orbit on the space shuttle, and orbited the Earth 444 times, logging over 680 hours in space.

7. Fort Jackson, the 53,000-acre US Army Training Center in Columbia, is the largest and most active Entry Training Center into the US Army in the nation. It trains ~45,000 basic training Soldiers annually, making up almost 50% of the Army’s basic combat trainees and about 60% of all females entering the Army.

8. Riverbanks Zoo is one of only ten zoos in the US to have koalas on exhibit, and theirs is a permanent exhibit. To best care for the animals, the zoo even flies in eucalyptus from Florida. Learn more about the koalas at Riverbanks and their breeding program here.

9. Did you know that Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s only national park, has 20+ of the tallest known trees of their species? These “champion trees” literally rise above all others and help bring in a lot of visitors to the park.

10. Columbia was one of the first planned cities in the U.S. (And is believed to be in the number two spot, just behind Savannah, Georgia.) It was planned out as a two-mile square around the State House, with the city’s streets designed in a grid.

11. The Barringer Building (1338 Main St.), formerly known as the National Loan and Exchange Bank, was South Carolina’s first skyscraper. Constructed in 1903, the 12-story structure represents advances in building use of steel framework, high-pressure water pipes, and elevators.

12. 71. That’s how many movies have been filmed in Columbia, according to IMDB. Better-known pictures include “Death Sentence” starring Kevin Bacon and scenes filmed in Williams-Brice Stadium in “The Waterboy” and “The Program.”

13. Cola didn’t have any paved streets until 1908 when Main Street was paved. The city even tried wooden blocks before considering paving on Washington Street, only to find that the wooden blocks would float away in heavy rain. It took the city almost a decade to replace the blocks with asphalt on Washington Street in 1925.

14. Founded in 1844, the publishing firm of R. L. Bryan Company is Columbia’s oldest operating business. Now located at 301 Greystone Blvd., the company has been the textbook distributor for the state of South Carolina since 1901.

15. Assembly Street is 150 feet wide, which is about 50 feet wider than other streets around town. Why? In the 1700s, the decision on the width was based on the belief that mosquitoes were unable to travel more than 60 feet without dying from starvation to get across.

Your turn. Think you can get one over on us? Let us know your favorite local trivia tidbit and you just might make it into the newsletter.

Columbia’s River Rat Brewery to close after a decade. Here’s when the last day will be

A brewery that has been a popular destination in Columbia for the last decade has announced it plans to close.River Rat Brewery, located at 1231 Shop Road, announced Tuesday night on its social media channels that it plans to close its doors. Its last day open to the public will be Dec...

A brewery that has been a popular destination in Columbia for the last decade has announced it plans to close.

River Rat Brewery, located at 1231 Shop Road, announced Tuesday night on its social media channels that it plans to close its doors. Its last day open to the public will be Dec. 30.

“We want to thank all of our wonderful customers and employees for supporting us over these past 10+ years,” River Rat posted. “Memories that will always be close to our heart! RRB grew organically over these last 10 years and what a pleasure it was to serve the great community of Columbia and beyond.”

River Rat was one of the first handful of Columbia-based craft breweries to hit the local scene about a decade ago. Two other breweries that, like River Rat, were located near Williams-Brice Stadium also closed in recent years: Conquest Brewing, which was located on Stadium Road, closed in 2019, and Swamp Cabbage Brewing on Brookwood Drive closed in 2022

River Rat didn’t offer a reason for its closing in its Tuesday social media posts.

“Though it is time to end this chapter we want to thank all who visited our establishment throughout these 10 years,” River Rat wrote. “The experiences we shared with our customers and employees will forever be in our hearts.”

The brewery said it will have a 25% off sale on all merchandise and beer this week.

Aside from a host of original beers — Kerry’s Peanut Butter Porter is a favorite — River Rat also has offered a full food menu at the Shop Road site, including burgers, barbecue sandwiches, quesadillas, wings and more.

The coming River Rat closure is the latest news in a bruising few weeks on the Midlands dining scene, as a host of long-running establishments have either closed or announced closures.

Al’s Upstairs, the Italian restaurant that has been at 300 Meeting St. in West Columbia for 44 years, announced its coming closure. Owner Al Loftis is retiring, and the restaurant’s last day will be Dec. 19.

Village Idiot announced on Tuesday that it would close its Forest Acres location at 4517 Forest Drive by the end of the month. The Forest Drive location has been in business for 14 years. The company’s Five Points and Whaley Street locations remain open, and franchising plans for the company are continuing.

In late November, Alodia’s Cucina Italiana closed the doors at its Irmo location at 2736 North Lake Drive after 15 years. The Lexington Alodia’s remains open.

And Jin Jin Chinese restaurant, which had been located at 469 Sunset Blvd. in West Columbia for 29 years, announced on Dec. 2 it would be shutting its doors.

This story was originally published December 6, 2023, 9:08 AM.

New Roadmap to Sustain SC to accelerate development in South Carolina

Listen to this articleSustain SC has launched the Roadmap to Sustain SC, which identifies seven key accelerators that will move South Carolina forward as a sustainable state ensuring economic prosperity and protection of the state’s quality of life.The plan was unveiled during Sustain SC’s recent second annual Sustainability Symposium in Columbia, according to a Sustain SC news release.“This is a big moment for our organization, which has dedicated an entire year to developing the Roadmap to Sustain SC,...

Listen to this article

Sustain SC has launched the Roadmap to Sustain SC, which identifies seven key accelerators that will move South Carolina forward as a sustainable state ensuring economic prosperity and protection of the state’s quality of life.

The plan was unveiled during Sustain SC’s recent second annual Sustainability Symposium in Columbia, according to a Sustain SC news release.

“This is a big moment for our organization, which has dedicated an entire year to developing the Roadmap to Sustain SC,” said Ethel Bunch, founder and CEO of Sustain SC, in the release. “This was a passion project and enhances Sustain SC’s mission of connecting the sustainability goals of business in South Carolina with local solutions for the benefit of our economy, environment, and people. We are proud to serve as a model for other states who work toward similar goals.”

The Roadmap undertaking began after South Carolina ranked 37th out of 50 states in a 2021 U.S. Sustainable Development Report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the release stated. As a result, Sustain SC partnered with Ernst and Young (EY) to assess how South Carolina could improve its low position on the list and be competitive with neighboring states. Through comprehensive research and analysis, researchers mapped out a plan for future sustainable development reflective of the unique commerce and conservation needs of the state, The Roadmap to Sustain SC.

The Roadmap initiatives include the following, the release stated:

“South Carolina recognizes the growing importance modern businesses place upon achieving sustainability goals, and S.C. Commerce is dedicated to working alongside industry partners, like Sustain SC, to provide the support necessary to make those achievements a reality,” said Harry M. Lightsey III, secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, said in the release. “The Roadmap to Sustain SC will help set apart South Carolina’s commitment to our business community.”

For the South Carolina Office of Resilience, which established a formal partnership with Sustain SC this year, the Roadmap to Sustain SC will support SCOR on a number of initiatives.

“Resiliency and nature-based solutions are the key to moving South Carolina forward,” said Ben Duncan, executive director of the South Carolina Office of Resilience. “These focus areas will help our organization develop strategies to minimize the impact of disasters on the communities and citizens of South Carolina.”

Topgolf considering Columbia-area location along Interstate 26

COLUMBIA — Topgolf has expressed initial interest in building a location in the Columbia area.The mega driving range entertainment company has entered the development process in Lexington County for property at 309 Paris Road, along Interstate 26 northwest of downtown Columbia, according to Planning Commission reports.In an email, Topgolf said it did not have any information to share about a possible venue in the area at this time. Property owners of the 13-acre parcel near the Piney Grove Road interchange, Greenville-bas...

COLUMBIA — Topgolf has expressed initial interest in building a location in the Columbia area.

The mega driving range entertainment company has entered the development process in Lexington County for property at 309 Paris Road, along Interstate 26 northwest of downtown Columbia, according to Planning Commission reports.

In an email, Topgolf said it did not have any information to share about a possible venue in the area at this time. Property owners of the 13-acre parcel near the Piney Grove Road interchange, Greenville-based Realty Link, also did not respond to messages left by The Post and Courier.

This is not the first time Topgolf has entered development talks with Lexington County, according to county planning officials. The company had been exploring possible development of the property prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but those efforts never progressed.

There is no guarantee that a deal for a new venue will come to fruition. But if Topgolf were to go forward with development, Columbia would mark the company’s fourth location in South Carolina, joining multi-story driving range towers built in Myrtle Beach, Greenville and North Charleston.

SUMTER — A German manufacturer of magnets used in electric vehicles is set to create 300 new jobs and invest over half a billion dollars.

Sumter will be home to the first U.S. facility for e-VAC Magnetics, which produces rare earth permanent magnets. CEO Erik Eschen and Gov. Henry McMaster made the announcement at a press conference Dec. 13.

The manufacturing plant will be placed on an 85-acre lot at Pocotaligo Industrial Park and is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

The announcement comes after the Department of Defense in September announced plans to expand domestic manufacturing of rare earth permanent magnets. The DOD plans included a $94.1 million award to e-VAC. The magnets, aside from being used in EVs, are used in the creation of military vehicles such as the F-35 plane and unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a DOD press release.

It also comes a day after electric vehicle battery factory AESC announced it would expand its Florence facility, adding an additional 450 jobs to the already 1,170 announced in December of last year, and joins the incoming Scout Motors plant in Blythewood as state officials continue to turn their focus on expanding the state’s capabilities when it comes to EVs.

“The automobile industry is really important to the state of South Carolina,” said state Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “It’s our largest manufacturing sector. It’s critically important that they make a pivot from internal combustion engines to the battery electric vehicles.”

Columbia, S.C. Brokers Join Forces Under the Century 21 Brand

EXCEL Real Estate, now doing business as Century 21 EXCEL, and its affiliated agents will have access to the brand’s suite of business building tools, state-of-the-art technology and international network thanks to the company’s merger with Century 21 803 Realty, while still continuing to leverage the local brand caché the brokerage has developed as EXCEL Real Estate.The combined operations of Century 21 803 Realty and Century 21 EXCEL now consist of six offices and more than 200 affiliated agents serving clients fr...

EXCEL Real Estate, now doing business as Century 21 EXCEL, and its affiliated agents will have access to the brand’s suite of business building tools, state-of-the-art technology and international network thanks to the company’s merger with Century 21 803 Realty, while still continuing to leverage the local brand caché the brokerage has developed as EXCEL Real Estate.

The combined operations of Century 21 803 Realty and Century 21 EXCEL now consist of six offices and more than 200 affiliated agents serving clients from Greenville to Charleston.

EXCEL Real Estate founders Candice McCuien and Kenny McCuien have both assumed the role of Executive Vice President for Century 21 EXCEL and will oversee the transition. Candice, who founded her firm in 2016 with her husband Kenny, is a highly regarded local industry leader, currently serving as the 2024 President-elect for the Central Carolina REALTORS® Association, which she will lead in 2025. She is the first African American female president in the history of the association. Century 21 Excel is an African-American owned brokerages in the state.

Tim Williams, now the owner of both Century 21 803 Realty and Century 21 EXCEL, says the merger brings together two like-minded companies which are both well-known for their top-notch service to clients as well as their deep knowledge of the market.

“Candice and I have known each for a long time and when we looked at how we both wanted to grow our presence in the state, we knew we could do more together,” said Williams. “Our partnership has expanded our scope in terms of market share, agent count and service area,” he continued. “Candice has successfully managed three distinct markets and her foothold in Greenville to the north and Charleston to the south complements our combined presence in the Columbia metro area. Together, we will expand our presence into untapped markets.”

The combined companies’ deep and accomplished leadership bench includes Leland Morrison, COO, who was instrumental in bringing this partnership to fruition; Christopher Smith, Broker in Charge of Century 21 803 Realty and Century 21 EXCEL Columbia and Greenville branches; James Means, Director of Mentorship for Columbia and Greenville; and Stephen Kohn, Broker in Charge of the Charleston Branch and Director of Low-Country Growth. Kohn is the current Vice-President for the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®. He will also be the President in 2026 for the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS.

“Tim, Candice and Kenny, along with their experienced and leadership team, are well-positioned to expand the firm’s presence along the Route 26 corridor, creating a seamless service area by connecting key South Carolina cities,” said Mike Miedler, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

Candice reports that her affiliated agents are excited about the opportunity to take their business to the next level. “With the tools and resources provided by the Century 21® brand, the agents will possess the ability to truly differentiate themselves from the competition and stand out amongst peers,” she said. “In addition, the robust professional development resources will support increased agent productivity. I also believe that they will be very excited about now being placed on the international stage where the success can be celebrated across the world thanks to the reach and power of the Century 21 network.”

SOURCE Century 21 803 Realty and Century 21 Excel

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