What is Probate Administration?

Probate administration is the process of managing the estate and assets of a deceased individual if they did not leave a will. While the probate process happens in most cases with or without a will, here’s what probate administration is and what it can mean for you and your family.

Probate Administration Without a Will

If the deceased left a will, their assets and estate management go through the process according to the instructions they left behind. If there is no will, South Carolina law determines how the estate will proceed. In either case, the majority of estates end up going through the probate process where the courts supervise the process. 

Informal Probate vs. Formal Probate

As long as the heirs and family members agree and get along, probate often moves smoothly and informally in conjunction with the court. If there are disagreements or issues with the estate and its assets, a formal probate is more likely.

Why You Need an Attorney

If the deceased has a will, the probate courts will defer to that during the distribution and settlement of the estate. If there is no will and it must go into administration, you need an attorney. Not only can they help you navigate the process, but they can also help the family members and heirs understand their options and mediate in the event of a disagreement.

If you’re facing probate administration, don’t panic or try to go it alone. Before you do anything else, contact the knowledgeable and compassionate team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

3 Must Know Myths About Divorce & Family Law

divorce lawyer handing client pen to sign paperwork

Are you considering getting a divorce and are overwhelmed by all of the how-to articles and supplementary information on the internet? Beware of some things you read and hear, not everything is what it seems. However, the right family law attorney can bring clarity to the myths and assist you in taking the correct actions in those crucial moments.

1. Separating for a year is easy and I can get a low-cost divorce.

Sometimes. However, there are so many serious factors to consider: who stays in the home, who will pay the bills, where will the children live, what kind of visitation should the other parent have, how to divide the credit card or other debt, and how to divide retirement accounts, real estate, and other assets, for example. If you do not have a very specific agreement on all of these issues, it is very likely the court will not allow you to proceed without legal counsel.

2. My spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage. The court will punish him or her for it.

Family courts are courts of equity. This means, while the court is required to follow the written law relevant to the issues before it, the judge is also guided and authorized to decide the case in a fair and equitable way. Many times, however, the aggrieved spouse wants the court to punish the other spouse for the perceived wrong actions. The family court judge may consider wrong actions if it relates to alimony factors. The court will also consider wrong doings that affect the best interest of the children. But the court will not usually “punish” the other side for breaking up the marriage.

3. My spouse makes more money than I do so the judge will make him or her pay my attorney’s fees.

In South Carolina, a family court judge has the authority to award attorney’s fees. This includes the party who “won” or to the party who was awarded the relief they requested at court. However, while this may occur after a contested motion hearing, it usually only happens at the end of a case after a contested trial. To begin your separation or divorce correctly, you should hire an attorney. You will need to pay for the process until the end of the case; the end of the trial. If the judge awards your fees at the end of the trial, generally, you will get reimbursed only after the other side pays those court-ordered fees.

Stay tuned for more featured tips and information in the next months “Robin’s Rebuttal.” If you have questions or concerns about your personal situation, contact the team at McCutchen McLean today.

*We understand and hope that divorce is normally the last report, as it should be. I write these tips not to encourage the dissolution of a marriage, but to help you understand the separation or divorce process better. The end of a marriage can often be confusing and overwhelming. Teaching you what to expect, and working with you towards the desired resolution, is our goal.



James McCutchen drafted our estate planning documents and he did a fantastic job. The entire process was easy and affordable. I highly recommend James for any of your estate planning or probate needs.



James McCutchen helped me with my business contract for my new business venture. He was able to offer helpful and informative suggestions and recommendations for my contract. It is reassuring to have someone like James look over my contract to know that I will be covered. His service was outstanding and I highly recommend him for your legal needs!!



I recently had a tax issue with the IRS. I called McCutchen McClean law firm and they were able to fit me in quickly. They sat down with me, reviewed all the documents, listened to my concerns, and gave me wonderful advice as to how to fix the issue. They were friendly and understanding. Now, my tax issue is resolved, taking a HUGE weight off my mind. I would recommend them for any tax issue you may have! The service, hospitality, knowledge, and professionalism was outstanding!



We recently used James McCutchen and we could not be any happier! He was very kind, thorough when answering all of our questions and the best part of all we got everything completed pretty quickly. We highly recommend James. Thanks again for everything!



I have referred several clients to them. My clients are very happy with the outstanding, timely service they receive. James and Robin are extremely smart and professional, yet speak in "plain english" so everyone walks away educated regarding their tax, estate or family law issue.



Smart people that do great work.



I used Robin McLean as an attorney to secure a divorce about 20 months ago. I found her to be efficient, reasonably priced, and very well skilled. I was completely happy with her work. She did what she said. Since that time, I needed additional help with paperwork and she responded promptly and to my complete satisfaction. I highly recommend Robin as an attorney.


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