Probate Lawyer in Johns Island, 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 Johns Island, 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 Johns Island, 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 Johns Island, SC
Probate Lawyer Johns Island, 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 Johns Island, 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 Johns Island, 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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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 Johns Island, 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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Latest News in Johns Island, SC

Vandalism causes 60-gallon diesel spill on Johns Island: Charleston Water System

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Clean-up efforts are underway after vandalism resulted in a 60-gallon diesel fuel spill on Johns Island, officials with Charleston Water System said Monday.The diesel fuel spilled into a stormwater ditch behind homes along Colonel Harrison Drive that leads to the Stono River. Residents initially discovered and smelled the fuel spill over the weekend. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was called on Sunday to help with the spill.Read more: ...

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Clean-up efforts are underway after vandalism resulted in a 60-gallon diesel fuel spill on Johns Island, officials with Charleston Water System said Monday.

The diesel fuel spilled into a stormwater ditch behind homes along Colonel Harrison Drive that leads to the Stono River. Residents initially discovered and smelled the fuel spill over the weekend. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was called on Sunday to help with the spill.

Read more: "Successful oil spill cleanup in Charleston by Coast Guard, no marine life threats."

“Our contractor cleaned up a portion of the spill, immediately called in a professional environmental remediation company, and notified SC DHEC and the EPA’s National Response Center,” said Mike Saia, Charleston Water System's public information administrator. “It may take several days for them to recapture all remnants of the fuel.”

This is the third instance of vandalism to contractor equipment in recent weeks, and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

“I mean it is a very, in depth vandalism. It's not just a rock through the window. It’s someone who came out here to destroy this 200-something thousand-dollar machine,” said Chad Hunter, owner of Hunter Landworx Construction, the contractor onsite.

Hunter showed up to his Johns Island job site Monday expecting to quickly finish a project he’s been working on since October. Instead, he found his machinery completely vandalized.

“There are wires in there, cut and hidden like that. We wouldn't be able to find it if we didn't see that all the fuel around it, my guys would've gotten in the machine. He put rocks and all in our engine to try to blow the engine up,” Hunter said.

But the damage doesn’t stop there.

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The vandalism led to a 60-gallon diesel fuel spill into the surrounding area along the Stono River. Charleston Water System owns the construction project, and its staff says they’ve never seen damage this bad.

“We don't see a lot of vandalism. If we do, it's very, very minor, and easy to repair. But this is a different situation because not only did the person damage the equipment related to the job, but they've also damaged the environment,” Saia said.

Saia said they were able to soak up as much of the liquid fuel as possible and the Coast Guard confirmed to CWS that the spill didn't reach the river.

Now, Hunter must pick up the pieces.

He said the damage to his machine alone will cost a few hundred thousand dollars and his crews are now behind on all their current projects.

“We're out here to clean up somebody's mess as well as take time from our family and slow down the project. I mean, it's hurting everybody, the neighborhood, everything around us is just getting messed up from one person,” Hunter said.

“One hour's worth of work is causing weeks of fix-up.”

News 4 has reached out to CCSO for more information.

$277M hospital proposed for Johns Island

Trident Medical Center has submitted a Certificate of Need to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to build a $277 million hospital on Johns Island. The application is for a 50-bed acute care hospital between Maybank Highway and Cane Slash Road, across from the Live Oak Square development.Projections for Johns Island Hospital show that within the first three years it will create nearly 300 jobs, contribute $10 million in non-income taxes to support the community and pay $70 million in salaries, wages and b...

Trident Medical Center has submitted a Certificate of Need to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to build a $277 million hospital on Johns Island. The application is for a 50-bed acute care hospital between Maybank Highway and Cane Slash Road, across from the Live Oak Square development.

Projections for Johns Island Hospital show that within the first three years it will create nearly 300 jobs, contribute $10 million in non-income taxes to support the community and pay $70 million in salaries, wages and benefits, the organization said in a release.

“We are excited to continue making medical care more accessible to residents in our historically underserved communities,” Trident Health President and CEO Christina Oh said in the news release. “Currently on Johns Island and neighboring communities, it can take residents 30 to 45 minutes to drive to their nearest hospital, and often longer in heavy traffic and inclement weather. Our goal is to increase access to timely, high quality and affordable health care services.”

Trident Medical Center’s chief of the medical staff and medical director of emergency services, Dr. Scott Hayes, said he sees firsthand the results of delayed care.

“For residents who live far from emergency medical care and who may be experiencing a medical emergency like a heart attack or a stroke, minutes can mean the difference between life and death,” he said in the news release. “Access to care close to home is critical, especially in areas like Johns Island and the surrounding communities, that have frequent traffic delays.”

Trident Health surgeon Dr. Thomas Litton, who lived on Johns Island for 20 years and recently moved from there largely due to increasing traffic congestion and limited access routes off the island, said, “The rapid population growth and development of Johns Island, as well as its role as the sole gateway to Kiawah, Seabrook and Wadmalaw Islands, has created a strong need for a full-service hospital in the area. Residents on those islands have never had a full-service hospital. Trident’s hospital on Johns Island and their freestanding ER on James Island will greatly improve residents’ access to much-needed medical care.”

Johns Island Hospital will be located seven miles from James Island Emergency, Trident’s new freestanding ER at 945 Folly Road, Charleston, that will open in the next few weeks.

Plans call for Johns Island Hospital to have 50 beds with space to expand to 150 beds, 40 medical/surgical/stepdown beds, 10 ICU beds, 20 ER rooms, four operating rooms, two endoscopy suites and a cardiac catheterization lab. The hospital also would have two CT scanners, an MRI, two diagnostic radiology suites and a fluoroscopy room.

In addition to the hospital, services would include medical offices for primary care and specialists as well as outpatient imaging and support such as breast imaging, rehabilitation and other outpatient therapy services.

“From our first discussions about building a hospital on Johns Island, we have been committed to creating a thoughtful plan that preserves the natural beauty of Johns Island,” Oh said in the release. “We will honor the strong Gullah Geechee cultures of the community; we will partner with the areas’ community and businesses; and will promote the important and unique contributions of Johns Island’s agricultural community.”

The proposed Johns Island Hospital is in addition to nearly $140M in capital investments currently underway at Trident Health’s hospitals, Trident Medical Center and Summerville

Charleston city councilman looking at ways to alleviate traffic on Johns Island

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Balancing development and existing infrastructure is an issue Charleston County and city leaders are facing.Ask any John's Island residents their main complaint and they will likely tell you traffic.Charleston city councilman for District 3, Jim McBride, is brainstorming ways to alleviate the stop-and-go drive on and off the island.On Maybank Highway, two lanes are coming onto Johns Island and only one going off towards James Island.Read more:...

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Balancing development and existing infrastructure is an issue Charleston County and city leaders are facing.

Ask any John's Island residents their main complaint and they will likely tell you traffic.

Charleston city councilman for District 3, Jim McBride, is brainstorming ways to alleviate the stop-and-go drive on and off the island.

On Maybank Highway, two lanes are coming onto Johns Island and only one going off towards James Island.

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Councilman McBride said it's a bottleneck and taxpayers are sitting in traffic, wasting time and money.

There are three projects in the works.

McBride said the first project that will alleviate this problem is the Northern Pitchfork, which is expected to be finished in March.

It will allow motorists to take a right coming onto the island at the fairly new stoplight near Fenwick Hall Allee and take them to River Road, meaning no one has to sit on Maybank.

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The second project is restriping Maybank Highway near the intersection of River Road.

Right now, there are short turn lanes and McBride said cars get backed up, slowing traffic coming onto the island.

He said after the striping, there will be a left turn lane only. The middle lane will be three lanes and a new right turn lane will be added.

The third planned project is the nearly $30 million Southern Pitchfork, creating a possible left turn when you come onto Johns Island.

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The traffic light for the Northern Pitchfork would potentially be moved and realigned with the entrance to the Southern Pitchfork closer to the bridge.

"If that gets funded, and if that happens, the estimated completion time would be somewhere somewhere around 2028," McBride said. "I don't want to wait for four years and no one on the island wants to wait for four years. So, we're trying to come up with some ideas to improve things before that."

McBride said these projects will allow traffic to flow better coming onto the island, but there is nothing funded now to help people get off the island.

"Every single morning taxpayers are sitting in traffic wasting money wasting time," McBride said. "And it's a problem that needs to get fixed."

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One idea McBride is researching is reversible lanes.

With reversible lanes, the middle lane would switch directions in the evening, potentially alleviating traffic.

"In the morning you have two lanes going off the island, and then in the evening, you'd have two lanes coming on the island," McBride said.

McBride said it would require large signaling and possibly entry gates to make it very clear which direction people would drive.

"In 2019, the county did a study on this idea, and they determined that it would improve traffic going off the island in the morning by 66%. That's a huge improvement," McBride said.

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McBride said the county recommended they could not do reversible lanes because currently there are too many stop lights too close together.

He said if the Northern Pitchfork is realigned with the future Southern Pitchfork, there would be one intersection closer to the bridge which would create a more continuous stretch of road, potentially allowing this idea to work.

McBride said the reversible lane idea would cost about $5 million.

"In comparison, the Southern Pitchfork is estimated to be about $30 million. So, $5 million is a lot of money, but it will save taxpayers so much money over time and save time. Instead of sitting in traffic you know, wasting time and gas money," McBride said.

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This is just one idea McBride is researching.

He said he is working alongside Mayor William Cogswell, city staff, and county council members Jenny Honeycutt and Joe Boykin to find a solution for Johns Island traffic.

River Road and Maybank Highway are state-owned, meaning they are managed and funded by the county.

McBride said this requires collaboration between the city and county.

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This November, the county will vote on a 2024 Half Cent Sales Tax Referendum to potentially replace an old sales tax set to expire in the next 2 years.

McBride said it would raise an estimated $5.4 billion.

He said $2 billion would help fund the Mark Clark Expressway, and the other $3.4 billion would help fund the County Infrastructure Improvement Projects.

Johns Island woman receives keys to new home from Habitat for Humanity

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A woman neighbors describe as a staple of the community has a new home thanks to a group of volunteers.Sea Island Habitat for Humanity celebrated another closing on Johns Island Friday, handing over the keys for the second house they completed this year to Clareatha Matthews.Matthews says she has been waiting for this day to come. She previously lived in a trailer right behind her new home for almost 40 years. On average, trailers are only supposed to last 10 to 15 years.Matthews is an active ...

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A woman neighbors describe as a staple of the community has a new home thanks to a group of volunteers.

Sea Island Habitat for Humanity celebrated another closing on Johns Island Friday, handing over the keys for the second house they completed this year to Clareatha Matthews.

Matthews says she has been waiting for this day to come. She previously lived in a trailer right behind her new home for almost 40 years. On average, trailers are only supposed to last 10 to 15 years.

Matthews is an active member of the community and has been a resident of John’s Island since 1989. She is involved in multiple Bible studies and has worked at the John’s Island Subway for 20 years now.

“Oh my god today means so much to me. I have been blessed and truly blessed for this day. I have been waiting for this day,” Matthews says.

The project to build her home began in September. When a new homeowner is picked, they are required to work a certain amount of “sweat equity” hours by working with volunteers to help build their own home. Matthews was required to work 300 and volunteers say she continued to come out and work on her house even when her required hours were completed.

“She is just a staple. She is a very active part of this community, and she was also very involved in her habitat sweat equity hours. Continuing to come out and help work on her house even after she finished her hours,” Construction site supervisor Kali Tanguay says.

She also said that they have seen some new homeowners in the past fall short on their hours or not want to commit, but that Matthews went above and beyond.

Her friends and family came out to celebrate and help Matthews move in. Her daughters said their mother worked three jobs when they were growing up and that she never complained. They said that she deserved this greatly.

“We owe our entire life to Habitat for Humanity. It’s very special because my mom is such a dependable, hardworking, and deserving lady and it’s good to see her just totally happy,” Matthew’s daughter, Veronica Huggins, says.

Sea Island Habitat for Humanity completes an average of five to six houses per year and they are hoping to see that number continue to grow.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Charleston leaders plan $30M project to improve Johns Island traffic

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the city of Charleston and Charleston County have announced a plan to address traffic concerns on Johns Island.Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the plan is the result of collaboration between the city of Charleston and Charleston County and will tackle traffic flow problems at the intersection of Maybank Highway and River Road, portions of Maybank Highway and the northern and southern Pitchforks, Tecklenburg said.“Traffic congestion has been a huge issue coming and going on J...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the city of Charleston and Charleston County have announced a plan to address traffic concerns on Johns Island.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the plan is the result of collaboration between the city of Charleston and Charleston County and will tackle traffic flow problems at the intersection of Maybank Highway and River Road, portions of Maybank Highway and the northern and southern Pitchforks, Tecklenburg said.

“Traffic congestion has been a huge issue coming and going on Johns Island,” he said. “And it was accentuated when that traffic light got added down the street. And everyone came to the realization that we needed to go back and rethink what got done six or seven years ago, what’s been done since then and what can we do collectively and collaboratively to make it better and make improvements.”

The city and county laid out the main points of the plan:

“Pitchforks” means two new roads that will branch off of Maybank towards River.

“The current cost estimate sits somewhere between $25 and $30 million to do all of this,” Charleston County Councilmember Joe Boykin said.

Tecklenburg said the money will come from future sales tax and Department of Transportation funding and once permitted, will apply for federal funding.

The full construction funding will have to be identified and approved by both city and county councils, according to Tecklenburg.

The first goal for short-term, interim improvements to Maybank Highway are expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2024, Tecklenburg said.

Robby Lingenfelter who works on Johns Island said he’s hopeful about the project but still frustrated.

“They say that the northern pitchfork will be completed by the first quarter of 2024, that’s good,” he said. “Southern pitchfork they said will take years, so we’re still five to ten years from alleviating the issues we have now.”

He said the city and county have been meeting since June to address the traffic issues on Johns Island.

“It’s going to happen. We are committed to making that happen,” Tecklenburg said.

Some locals question the mayor’s timing.

“Hearing this press conference that is happening five days before an election, can’t help but notice that a lot of this was conceptual and funding for a lot of this isn’t even secured,” Logan Mcvey said. “So, this seems like more talk and a lot more traffic just sitting and waiting on stuff to happen.”

Tecklenburg’s response was that they needed enough vetting through engineers and design teams before the plans could be presented.

Charleston County Council member Jenny Huneycutt, Charleston City Council member Karl Brady and the city’s planning and traffic directors also attended the news conference.

WATCH THE CHARLESTON LEADERS ANNOUNCE THE JOHNS ISLAND TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENT PLAN BELOW

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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