Probate Lawyer in Seabrook 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 Seabrook 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 Seabrook 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 Seabrook Island, SC
Probate Lawyer Seabrook 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 Seabrook 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 Seabrook 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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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 Seabrook 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 Seabrook Island, SC

Editorial: We dodged a bullet on Seabrook. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Everyone who cares about southern Johns Island should be pleased that a controversial annexation was pulled from the Seabrook Island Town Council’s agenda last week in the face of mounting opposition over what the annexation would help create — a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages — and the likelihood that it would add more traffic and pollution to the rural side of Charleston County’s urban growth boundary.But those same folks, particularly leaders on Kiawah and Seab...

Everyone who cares about southern Johns Island should be pleased that a controversial annexation was pulled from the Seabrook Island Town Council’s agenda last week in the face of mounting opposition over what the annexation would help create — a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages — and the likelihood that it would add more traffic and pollution to the rural side of Charleston County’s urban growth boundary.

But those same folks, particularly leaders on Kiawah and Seabrook islands and Charleston County Council, should not get complacent. Instead, they need to work together on better planning to guide development in and around where those two sea islands meet up with southern Johns Island.

It’s unclear when, or if, the developer’s annexation request might resurface. Even if it doesn’t, there undoubtedly will be other development plans that will expose the tensions between those living on rural Johns Island and those living beyond the gates at Kiawah and Seabrook. This moment offers an important reset, one that should begin with getting all these local governments to recommit to the vision of an urban growth boundary — a line past which suburban development would not be supported through zoning, infrastructure or other local policies.

Such a recommitment wouldn’t bind future councils any more than their respective comprehensive plans do, but it would send a unified message about their mutual commitment to respect the natural beauty and environmental sensitivity of the area.

It’s clear that development pressures at Kiawah’s and Seabrook’s doorstep are increasing. A fresh series of new developments, including a senior living facility and an emergency medical facility, is cropping up. Elected officials, neighborhood leaders and county planners need to come up with a mutually agreed-upon zoning overlay for the area, one that would guide future development to ensure new uses and the size and scale of new buildings are appropriate. Such an overlay also would prevent developers from trying to play one jurisdiction against another to get the permits they seek, a tactic sometimes used in other parts of the tri-county area.

The mutual interests of everyone became clear during this recent annexation controversy, as the mayor of Kiawah Island took the unusual step of sending a letter to Seabrook’s mayor and council urging them to reject the annexation and respect the urban growth boundary, which Mayor John Labriola noted “serves as a guide to direct appropriate urban and suburban development while preserving and cherishing the rural charm of the Sea Islands that we all hold dear.”

Given what we’ve seen this summer, the existing urban growth boundary line may not continue to be enough on its own, and we believe a joint planning effort could help pin down the following: to what extent commercial development in the greater Freshfields area should be allowed to inch its way north on Betsy Kerrison; whether the towns should annex any more of Johns Island; whether any upzoning in the area might be appropriate; and how new building would affect the net traffic and drainage needs around Kiawah and Seabrook. While residents live only on Kiawah or Seabrook or in the unincorporated area, they have a stake in the answers to all those questions. This area deserves a new zoning overlay and conservation goals that offer a shared vision of how the southern part of Johns Island will — and will not — change.

Regional planning needs to take place on a large scale — such as our greater metro area from Seabrook to Awendaw to Summerville and Moncks Corner — but it’s also necessary on a smaller scale, especially in those places such as southern Johns Island where multiple local governmental jurisdictions meet.

Decades ago, the city of Charleston and Charleston County came up with the urban growth boundary across Johns Island and other areas where the suburbs ended to ensure their zoning and other policies worked together to protect rural areas that residents wanted to remain rural. Kiawah and Seabrook were once seen as too distant to bring into the conversation about that line. That’s not the case any more.

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Editorial: Seabrook Island, other beach towns, should respect Johns Island growth boundary

There are several powerful reasons why Seabrook Island Town Council should reject a proposed annexation that would pave the way for a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages near the town’s northern limits.The additional boat and car traffic would create more congestion on Betsy Kerrison Parkway in particular and Johns Island in general, as well as more pollution to the otherwise pristine Bohicket Creek. But the biggest reason Town Council should reject the 18-acre annexation is the dangero...

There are several powerful reasons why Seabrook Island Town Council should reject a proposed annexation that would pave the way for a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages near the town’s northern limits.

The additional boat and car traffic would create more congestion on Betsy Kerrison Parkway in particular and Johns Island in general, as well as more pollution to the otherwise pristine Bohicket Creek. But the biggest reason Town Council should reject the 18-acre annexation is the dangerous precedent it would set, a precedent that would erode the rural character of southern Johns Island.

Decades ago, local governments, led by the city of Charleston and Charleston County, agreed on an urban growth boundary across Johns Island and other areas. The big idea was to ensure their zoning and other policies were synchronized to allow suburban development to continue to spread, but only up to a point, beyond which the existing rural nature would be preserved. The boundary has generally worked well, but as with so much other conservation work, it needs to be embraced and reaffirmed by each new generation.

Seabrook Island’s potential move would mark one of the first and most dramatic annexations by a municipality into the rural portion of the island; if it succeeds, it almost assuredly wouldn’t be the last, and it could hasten the unraveling of the boundary line — and increase development pressures on the shrinking amount of land on the rural side of the boundary.

Robby Maynor of the Coastal Conservation League agrees that annexing and rezoning this property on the rural side of the urban growth boundary would set a disastrous precedent on the county’s Sea Islands and could lead to annexation battles such as those that are playing out along the most rural stretches of the upper Ashley River, whose rural historic district remains in jeopardy from encroaching homes, stores and the traffic they bring. Approving the marina project would be “like kicking an anthill and hoping you don’t get bit,” he says.

The case that the property’s owner and other supporters have made for the annexation is that it would give Seabrook Island future control of the site and limit future development there, according to reporter Warren Wise. But the proposal appears to us as designed to facilitate development, not to curb it. Annexing the site, which is next to Bohicket Marina, would allow it to tie into the town’s sewer system.

Unfortunately, Seabrook Island’s Planning Commission has recommended annexing the site and rezoning it for a mixed-used development. We urge Town Council members to reject that move when they consider the matter Aug. 22.

As Mr. Wise noted, the project is a scaled-down version of a 30-year-old Andell Harbor project that state environmental regulators rightly and mercifully rejected. While this is smaller, with only about 4 acres of development near the creek and the rest set aside for open space, it still would represent an unwelcome and disturbing encroachment into the rural area between the barrier islands of Kiawah and Seabrook and the suburban growth from the city of Charleston.

Last year, we urged elected officials, neighborhood leaders and planners with Charleston County and the two beach towns to come up with a mutually agreed-upon overlay for their shared area at the southern tip of Johns Island. That overlay should guide future development toward the kinds of uses — and the sizes and scale — residents of all three jurisdictions would most like to see, and help address growing real estate pressures in a way residents prefer. We repeat the call for regional cooperation, and Seabrook Island’s rejection of this annexation would be an important first step.

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Plans for yacht club concerns sea island residents

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The potential for a new yacht club and several docks on Seabrook Island is concerning Sea Islanders and environmental advocates.Town of Seabrook leaders discussed those plans Wednesday, which would include the annexation of a portion of Charleston County into Seabrook island.The town’s planning commission voted 4-1 to recommend moving forward with the annexation to the town council.The nearly 18-acre site, called the “Andell Tract,” sits between Bohicket Marina and Betsy K...

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The potential for a new yacht club and several docks on Seabrook Island is concerning Sea Islanders and environmental advocates.

Town of Seabrook leaders discussed those plans Wednesday, which would include the annexation of a portion of Charleston County into Seabrook island.

The town’s planning commission voted 4-1 to recommend moving forward with the annexation to the town council.

The nearly 18-acre site, called the “Andell Tract,” sits between Bohicket Marina and Betsy Kerrison Parkway on Johns Island.

the plan includes a private Yacht Club and amenities such as a boat house, pool house and detached hotel containing 10 two-story cottages, according to town documents.

It also has public spaces including a boardwalk, pathways and a community crabbing dock.

Dana Beach, the founder of the Coastal Conservation League, said his two main concerns about the proposal are the environmental impacts on the water, and the crossing of Charleston County’s Urban Growth Boundary.

He said if The Town of Seabrook annexes this portion of Charleston County into their town for development, it could set a precedent for other local municipalities to do the same.

“The town may say ‘this is only a 20-acre parcel that in itself isn’t a big deal,” Beach said. “That’s what Charleston could say if it wanted to coming down from the north, that’s what Kiawah could say as it comes in from the East, even Folly Beach could say that.”

Robby Maynor, the Communities and Transportation Program Director for Coastal Conservation League echoed Beach’s point while addressing the planning commission at Wednesday’s meeting.

“There is an ongoing effort for collaboration between the municipalities on the sea islands to reaffirm that growth boundary to help strike a balance between development and preservation, this annexation would be a step in the wrong direction,” Maynor said.

The majority of the 544 written comments and 10 in person comments were against the development, although some community members spoke in its’ favor.

“I believe a Yacht Club is an amenity that fits perfectly within our diverse group of people,” Seabrook resident, Jackie Helline, said.

Mike Shuler, the Owner and Managing Partner for Bohicket Marina Investors, said he respectfully disagrees with the fear that this annexation may set a precedent for other municipalities to cross Charleston County’s Urban Growth boundary.

“What we are annexing is part of Seabrook’s comprehensive plan. Whether it crosses an Urban Growth Boundary, in my opinion, isn’t relevant here,” Shuler said. “Not to mention, further expansion beyond the property we are contemplating here is not possible because of conservation easements that are in place.”

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Planned yacht club advances after Seabrook Island board OKs annexation, land use change

SEABROOK ISLAND — Three decades after a plan to create a 400-slip marina through a canal and lock project on Johns Island was rejected, a scaled-down proposal calls for a private yacht club on nearly 18 acres in the same general area on Bohicket Creek.Conservationists and several area ...

SEABROOK ISLAND — Three decades after a plan to create a 400-slip marina through a canal and lock project on Johns Island was rejected, a scaled-down proposal calls for a private yacht club on nearly 18 acres in the same general area on Bohicket Creek.

Conservationists and several area residents oppose the development called Andell, but Seabook Island’s Planning Commission voted 4-1 on July 12 to recommend annexing the site and zoning the property for a mixed-used development. Town council will have final say.

Bohicket Creek Investors LLC of Charleston wants to build a boat dock with a private clubhouse, boathouse and poolhouse along with outdoor amenities and 10 rental cottages for members and the public at 4484 Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

“Annexing gives Seabrook future control of the site,” said Mike Shuler, the property owner’s principal and managing partner. “It will substantially limit future development of the site.”

The property, currently zoned for agricultural and residential use in unincorporated Charleston County, would allow “a variety of agricultural and light industrial uses ... which could have significantly greater impact on the existing natural features than the proposed development,” according to the town’s planning staff, which recommended conditional project approval.

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Among those opposing the project is the Coastal Conservation League.

Robby Maynor, the Charleston-based environmental group’s communities and transportation program director, said the project is outside the region’s “urban growth boundary” and called the proposed development “a step in the opposite direction” of protecting rural acreage.

He also cited potentially adverse effects from pollution runoff into Bohicket Creek, increased boat traffic and encroachment into critical habitat areas.

A half dozen others cited similar concerns before the Planning Commission’s vote. The board also noted it had received more than 500 comments about the proposal with the vast majority in opposition.

Proponents of the project said that the property’s current zoning allows multiple uses than what’s being proposed, that the town will have more control over the property if it is annexed and that the development will provide recreational opportunities.

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The project’s name is similar to a proposed development from 30 years ago called Andell Harbor that called for a massive earth-moving operation with a man-made channel connecting to a large marina. State environmental regulators eventually nixed the idea in the mid-1990s.

The yacht club site is beside Bohicket Marina, which also is owned by Shuler’s group, and the two would be connected by a boardwalk and road. The planned entrance to the new development is across from Kiawah Island Town Hall.

Cottages would flank both sides of the drive leading to the yacht club.

Plans show the development on about 4 acres of the site near the creek. The rest of the property would be set aside as open space, including a 75-foot wooded buffer next to the parkway and a 20-foot vegetated area next to the northwest parcel in the county.

The site also would include a public boardwalk, pathways and a community crabbing dock.

Bohicket Creek Investors bought the tract in 2021 for $5.6 million, according to Charleston County land records. Nearby properties include Freshfields Village Shopping Center.

The 4 Most Snake-Infested Rivers in South Carolina

South Carolina is known for its barbecue, warm temperatures, and welcoming beaches. But did you know that it’s home to plenty of different species of snakes? The hot, humid climate, combined with the marshy, wet areas and grasslands that make up the Low Country, make an excellent home for serpents. The Piedmont, the hilly region at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, also contains plenty of snakes. ...

South Carolina is known for its barbecue, warm temperatures, and welcoming beaches. But did you know that it’s home to plenty of different species of snakes? The hot, humid climate, combined with the marshy, wet areas and grasslands that make up the Low Country, make an excellent home for serpents. The Piedmont, the hilly region at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, also contains plenty of snakes. South Carolina has 38 different species of snakes, and they’re all native to the state! Let’s take a look at which rivers are home to the most snakes.

1. The Savannah River

The Savannah River is home to plenty of different species of snake. One dangerous serpent you might find here is the Copperhead. This species is the most venomous snake in the state. You can tell the Copperhead apart from others by its brown hourglass crossbands and over a pinkish or tan-colored background. These snakes enjoy the mountains as well as coastal hardwood floors.

They tend to live in grasslands, rolling pine hills, sandy coasts, and longleaf pine flatwoods. This means you might come across one at any point. The Savannah River, which borders Georgia, is home to these snakes and rat snakes. The black rat snakes have a telltale hint of white along their scales and are found in the mountains and Piedmont regions of central Georgia and South Carolina. You can find yellow rat snakes along the coast, and gray rat snakes tend to live in the Savannah River in Southern South Carolina.

2. The Pee Dee Rivers

The Little Pee Dee and Great Pee Dee rivers are home to the brown watersnakes. They’re various shades of brown with dark brown square blotches and a lighter belly. Though they tend to roam the Pee Dee rivers, you could come across one of these anywhere in the state. They enjoy life in flowing water, so rivers are their favorite spots. They’re very common snakes and are fantastic swimmers! Their bites are known to be especially painful, though they aren’t venomous.

3. The Edisto River

Another harmless snake you might come across is the Garter snake. They’re well-adapted to living around people and can often be found in city parks, as well as suburban lawns and gardens. While it’s rare for them to bite, they will defecate and release a foul smell to defend themselves!

The Edisto River makes its way through a large part of the Lowcountry in South Carolina. Much of it is wet and marshy, making it a great home for serpents. Cottonmouths can also be found in palmetto thickets, pine forests, dune areas, and prairies, as well as slow-moving streams, swamps, marshes, ponds, and rivers. This snake is incredibly dangerous and venomous. They vibrate their tails and expose the white interior of their mouths when they hiss.

4. The Broad River

Besides brown watersnakes, you will likely come across banded and northern watersnakes in the Broad River. You might also see Queen snakes, commonly confused with watersnakes due to similar coloration. Unlike watersnakes, though, these won’t typically bite you! Though banded watersnakes aren’t venomous, they give off an awful stench when threatened. Northern watersnakes make up the majority of these species found here and are often confused with copperheads due to the dark brown or reddish bands and blotches on their backs.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Michiel de Wit/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a 36-year-old mother of 2 and military wife. I have 2 dogs and a cat that I'm thoroughly obsessed with. When I'm not writing for work, I'm writing as a hobby. You can find me knee deep in a pile of books or way too invested in a video game.

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